Ivanhoe is from MODG’s 12th Grade Book List.
A twelfth-grade student may be intimidated by the length of Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, but low and behold, there is an unexpected surprise awaiting the reluctant reader. Tucked inside the pages of this book, universal concepts of man’s nature spring forth, giving the young adult reader a glimpse into the world of man’s actions and the victories and follies that can befall him.
The book centers around the main character Ivanhoe, a knight of the crusades, whose allegiance to Richard the Lion-Hearted is challenged by the commonly accepted allegiance to King John. Other supporting characters, Rowena (Ivanhoe’s love), Isaac the Jew, Rebecca his daughter, and the infamous Brian de Bois-Guilbert portray royal and lower-class people of those times.
The reader is introduced to the historical, medieval era in an appealing way, and sees the difficult political situations as well as moral ones that all the characters face. Tournaments, witch trials, wounded knights, castle raids and captured women are only a few of the things that take place in this novel. Through reading and discussing this book, questions like “What makes a virtuous man?” “What makes a virtuous woman?” “What is virtue?” “Do certain situations justify certain actions?” compel the reader to analyze what makes a good, Christian life and what makes a bad one. It is apparent that Ivanhoe is the main character, but at the end, one may wonder, “Who is the hero?”
Recommended by Emilie Crimmins, MODG Alum, Teacher and Office Staff.