Summer Reading Assignments

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Hello Bishop Machebeuf Students and Families —

Below you will find summer reading assignments for each grade level along with a short reflection from teachers about how the assigned reading fits into the Integrated Humanities curriculum.

These assignments are to be completed over the summer in preparation for students’ Humanities classes. Summer reading books and hard copies of the assignments are available at the school. If you need to pick them up, please contact Dakota Pesce by email at to schedule a time.

Freshman Summer Reading and Assignment
Book: The Iliad by Homer
Assignment: Humanities 1 Summer Reading Assignment 2022
Reflection: In reading the Iliad, students are exposed to the great teacher of antiquity, Homer.  The Homeric epics teach students the values of honor, duty, and piety that inspired the ancients of Greece and Rome to acts of heroic and civic greatness. As grace builds upon nature, the integrated humanities seeks to provide students a solid natural foundation in the wisdom of the ancients before introducing the wisdom of revelation in the literature of Sophomore year. The Iliad, the first of Homer’s two epics, is a fitting place to begin one’s study of the Humanities. -Mr. Farris

Sophomore Summer Reading and Assignment
Book: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Assignment: Humanities 2 Summer Reading Assignment 2022
Reflection: The Fellowship of the Ring serves as an excellent introduction to medieval culture and thought–the focus of our studies in sophomore Humanities. A medievalist and a devout Catholic, Tolkien offers a fantasy adventure epic depicting a reality that greatly resembles the world as medieval Catholics understood it. To understand Tolkien’s vision is to take a great step towards understanding the medieval worldview. And perhaps of equal importance: Tolkien’s novel is delightful and moving–truly a great book! -Mr. Adamson

Junior Summer Reading and Assignment
Book: “Purgatorio” from The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (translated by John Ciardi)
Assignment: Humanities 3 Summer Reading Assignment 2022
Reflection: Dante’s The Divine Comedy demonstrates the height of Medieval, Christian thought. By synthesizing elements from both the ancient, classical world and the Catholic faith, Dante guides readers on a pilgrimage of conversion in which they contemplate vice and virtue, sin and grace, faith and reason, and are led to unity with God. -Mr. Pesce

Senior Summer Reading and Assignment
Books: Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
Assignment: Humanities 4 Summer Reading Assignment 2022
Reflection: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is an 1845 memoir in which Douglass describes his enslavement, escape, and activism as an abolitionist in the American South. Notes from Underground is an 1864 novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky that details the psychological ramblings of an unnamed, bitter, isolated, retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg, Russia. What could two these books possibly have in common? Written relatively close together, both books investigate the relationship between the self and the modern world, exploring key questions that we will consider throughout senior year humanities: what does it means to be captive, and what does it means to be free? What is the relationship between freedom, happiness, and suffering? How does a person become consciously aware of his or her reality, and what does one do about it? -Mrs. Stark