What does it mean to "teach" a poem, novel or play? Surely it is about lessons in comprehension and improvements in language facility, but what does literature teach us beyond literacy? Students can read substantive literature for what its authors intended: an insight into the human condition. Students, even those who appear indifferent, struggle with questions of right and wrong, good and evil, love and loss, self-interest and self-sacrifice. Using literature he has used with his students, the author insists that asking the right questions, discussing ideas that still matter, will show students that others have wrestled with the same issues, expressing that struggle in timeless stories. For the teacher of literature, the student of literature, the lover of literature, this book is a reminder of why, in the words of Maya Angelou, "we stumble and fall, and how, miraculously, we can stand up." What more important lesson is there?