Can we really say this is anything new? Books have been banned from schools for decades- kids can't read Tom Sawyer, Harry Potter, Brave New World, and dozens of others. We are lucky enough to live in Mason, a northern city where people aren't so uptight about adult issues. Conservative parents have been restricting literature from kids since literature began. It's just the nature of the monster. The sooner we stop any bans from happening the sooner we will achieve true freedom of expression and speech. Parent shouldn't be able to dictate what others may read, even if those others may be their children. It's the same as Fahrenheit 51, and I don't need to tell you how that ended.
Keep the books, if parents want their kids to be prepared for real-life they're going to have to hear a couple swears and read about hard times. Life isn't all sunshine and rainbows and high school students have to learn that and parents shouldn't be able to prevent what students can and can't read.
Schools really shouldn't dictate what we can and can't read as students. If the reason for wanting to ban these books from being read in school is profanity, that's ridiculous. Kids are going to be exposed to these profanities sooner than later (based on the society we live in) and they shouldn't be shielded from them now. I don't understand why parents think that if we read these novels, they will instantly change our views and how we speak to others. That's not the case. When we read books, we're exposed to different views, different languages, and craft. There's nothing wrong with that.
I think it's funny when parents decide they're educated enough in literature to give their personal review of Steinbeck to a school board. Saying that Of Mice and Men is "is neither a quality story nor a page turner"? And their blatant refusal to expose their kids to the reality of "cussing" and difficult issues? Locking your children in a padded room isn't going to keep them safe from the reality of life. This is just another example on the long list of overprotective parents embarrassing themselves.
This problem interests me as a journalist because it involves censorship, which I am against. I also think that schools should stand up for themselves more. If a parent really has that much of an issue with a book, it doesn't have to affect every other student at the school. They have the right to make that decision for their child, but they don't have the right to make that decision for anyone else.
This reminds me of a Fahrenheit 451 debate we had last year in English. Censorship of school books should not be the primary concern of helicopter parents. Drug abuse, drunk driving, cyber bullying, etc. are all more pressing issues.
This a great example of overprotective parents attempting to censor their children from the society that we live in. Despite how inhumane it is, if rape occurs in a scene from "The Kite Runner" then let the students read the scene! Rape is a prominent issue in society, and shielding high school students from the truth does noting except shield them from a great piece of literature.
Overprotective parents are always going to attempt to shield their children from anything that bears even the slightest resemblance of drugs, rape, sex, etc. However, they can't change the curriculum to specifically fit their child as it serves hundreds of other students. There is a reason that these books are a classic. It causes exposure to real life issues. Students should not only grow academically but also grow to be mature so they can face real life issues when they come across them.
Schools have a right to ban whatever books they deem too inappropriate for their age group. They always have to err on the side of caution when choosing required readings, because the students have no choice. It's different that, say, watching a PG-13 movie in class, because they have to have their parents actively sign a permission form, and therefore have a choice of whether they take part in the activity with no grade penalty. When there is a penalty, in the case of "Of Mice and Men" and "Kiterunner", the reading has to be inclusive to all students and parents, and as a result, these novels can be banned by schools.
Parents of high school students need to understand that their kid probably hears more swear words in the hallway than they will in these books. Personally, I don't swear, but I'm not offended when I read swear words in a book because it's realistic. Authors attempt to be as believable as possible to make the reader feel as completely submerged into a story as possible. If a crude, gruff character is written into a book and uses phrases like "gosh darn it" or "what the heck", it's simply not realistic. Characterization and authenticity is a big part of storytelling. In addition, I don't believe that the students reading these novels are hearing anything new. Swear words are not causing any physical harm to the students (and I'm sure it's not causing any emotional harm either), so I think parents need to take it down a notch.
What kind of children do these parents think they are raising? No high school student needs their mom to hold their hand and tell them what they are and are not allowed to read. The last time my mom helped me pick out a book was in kindergarten when I loved all Dr. Seuss books and she had to pick which she wanted to read to me that night. I'm a 17 (and a half) year old, I don't need my mommy to choose my book. Who cares about cuss words, I bet every student in the high school has heard or said a cuss word. WHO CARES IF WE READ ONE?! Ugh, parents they just try to protect their kids from everything, and I get that, but they can't be sheltered forever.
Everyone who is against those books needs to understand that there are many worse things that happen in the world than what goes on in novels. Life is much scarier, and often much more graphic. Sheltering people who are almost adults is NOT helping them or preparing them for life outside of a classroom. Before I even started reading any "classics" I already knew more foul language than most people over 45. At least when you read something, you can become acquainted with whatever terrible thing that occurred, because odds are, it happens all the time. When something happens, I'd rather be mentally prepared. These parents need to stop hovering over their kids. We are nearly adults, and we can handle reading the F-bomb a few times. I hear it and other words similar to it at least 20 times a day. Literature should never be restricted; didn't they read Fahrenheit 451 in high school? Books give important messages and "god damn" doesn't ruin that.
I'm not surprised to read that these debates are prominently taking place in Idaho and North Carolina. Personally, when I read "Of Mice and Men" last year in English class, I thought it was a little weird, not because of the swearing, but because of the violence. I thought it was well-written and tackled mental problems very well, so I understood why it was taught in school, and I think it should be, I just thought the violence was unsettling...but so was "In Cold Blood" and "Fahrenheit 451". That's just personal preference. We don't like every book we read, every TV show we watch, every person we meet -- but that doesn't mean we should instill bans.
"The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame." ~Oscar WildeI deplore this "recommendation." Yes, it is a censorship issue, but I find this insulting for additional reasons. Students are young, sure, and books have cuss words. But parents forget that students stroll through their high schools spewing this language themselves. And as for The Kite Runner, the culture depicted may include a rough, and perhaps even traumatic, experience for the protagonist as well as less than desirable conditions for women. These works, however, do not promote the injustice they photograph. It is included because it exists. This is the culture we have created. Writing vanilla literature and limiting our children to reading Dr. Seuss deprives us of an understanding of the world in which we live. Part of the author's reason for writing is to draw attention to these issues and inspire change. If it resonated with a parent enough to prompt them to wish to censure it, perhaps they should address these issues on a global level rather than pretend they are lies.
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It's no surprise that parents are trying to get these book censored at schools. The argument that these parents are forming is not a strong one, they say that these profanities in the book are inappropriate yet their children daily probably hear more profanities a day than are written in the book. The book debates the issues of mental problems and also the decisions the problems the world may throw at people. By taking away these books they are not taking away the worlds negative influences they are just taking away classic literature. Also the school is a controlled place where students may talk to their teachers about any issues they may have with the text.
It's borderline embarrassing that these are arguments that exist in 21st century America. I think that english education has always been about the exposure of literature to students rather than the personal preference that seems to be taking over these schools in Iowa and North Carolina. It's no doubt that Of Mice and Men isn't the happiest of novels, but the fact of the matter is that it depicts a real time in history that occurred seventy years ago. The Kite Runner's depiction of sexual assault is important because it is REAL. We cannot hide these themes to our students in our schools when that is what they're at school to learn.
Books like 'Of Mice and Men' tend to have a large impact on students. I've heard of it my entire life, and I think that without them, students are left to learn about the ordinary. I feel like parents tend to want to shelter their children as much as they can in their youth, and that this is the reason why they are having an issue about these books. Parents shouldn't keep their kids sheltered from reading a book, because more often than not they will experience or see someone experience these things later in life. At least they will have a class to talk about it with, and a teacher will actually teach through it, and explain. Parents have yet to question 'In Cold Blood', which in my opinion, was the worst book I've ever read. It showed the murder of a family, and had a lot of curse words. 'Of Mice and Men' is a classic, yet it's not even being placed next to some books that are equal or worse. Parents, if you want to judge something, at least judge other things around it before you go attacking a classic.
Personally, I've never understood why parents try so hard to censor things from their children. I understand that they want a safe environment for them to grow up in, but as far as the things that these books reveal, wouldn't they want their children being exposed to them in the safety of a book in their school or home rather than going out into the real world and being exposed to it for the first time? A school's job is to prepare students for the next step; for the real world. By trying to ban these books, they're holding back students from learning about the world, because these are real words and ideas that are used, and only by the students being aware will it contribute to their ultimate safety.