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Sir Thomas More
|edHelper's suggested reading level:||grades 9 to 12|
|Flesch-Kincaid grade level:||7.31|
Sir Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons
By Colleen Messina
1 On the evening of July 5, 1534, a weary man sat in his dismal cell in the Tower of London. He fingered his scratchy hairshirt and thought about his life. Was honor worth dying for? Apparently, the answer to this question was yes for Sir Thomas More. After his execution, his rough hairshirt became a relic.
2 Thomas More was a complex man; brilliant in mind, tender in heart, and devoted in spirit. He didn't mind wearing his uncomfortable hairshirt. The movie, A Man for All Seasons, tells his life story. The Dutch humanist, Erasmus, coined the phrase and thus captured the essence of More's multifaceted life. He was an accomplished statesman, author, and also a devoted family man...the perfect Renaissance man. He lived an honorable life, although the role of his hairshirt is debatable.
3 To get a sense of how a hairshirt feels, try this experiment: turn a wool sweater inside out, and put it on with nothing between you and its scratchy, itchy fibers. Many people through the ages have worn hairshirts made from goats' hair. The idea was that somehow the unbearable, scratchy feeling would remind them to live a good life.
4 Thomas did live a good life, though it ended tragically. He was born on February 7, 1478. He was the only son of an English judge, Sir John More. He had a sharp mind and a quick wit that made him famous later in his life. When he was thirteen years old, he became a page for Sir John Morton, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellor of England. This event was both prophetic and fortunate for Thomas. The archbishop noticed Thomas' bright mind and sent him to Oxford University.
5 Thomas worked hard in school, and because he had very little money, he didn't have time to get into trouble! He studied Greek, French, Latin, history, and mathematics. He learned to speak Latin so fluently that one of his teachers said, "His eloquence is incomparable and twofold, for he speaks with the same facility in Latin as in his own language." To round out his rigorous academic schedule, he also learned to play the flute and the viola. Mastery of both mental and artistic endeavors was a trait of a good Renaissance man.
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English Reading Comprehension: Sir Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons
Spanish Reading Comprehension: Sir Thomas More, un hombre para todas las estaciones
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