To the editor:
Discussion about the removal of novels from the curriculum has recently been revived, and I believe it would be beneficial for adults to hear the opinions of students such as myself. I read avidly, take advanced English classes and have read several of the questioned novels.
While I understand the desire for parents to protect their children, I don't understand the need to remove books from the curriculum. If parents don't want their child to study a novel, they can ask the teacher for an alternative assignment. Parents cannot decide what's suitable for another child and shouldn't be allowed to deny every child the opportunity to read and discuss the novel in a classroom. That decision rests within each individual parent and child.
The classroom is the best setting to read novels. Discussion is created and it's understood why scenes portrayed and words used are included. By reading these novels with a class, the novel is more effectively comprehended.
Novels are taught for a purpose. Whether they point out the horrors of slavery (Toni Morrison's "Beloved"), satirize racism (Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"), or show a family's struggle to survive (John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath"), they're in the curriculum for a reason. Teachers aren't attempting to corrupt America's youth; they're trying to teach us about important issues.
We shouldn't be told we cannot read a book because it is "questionable." We should be allowed to read the novel and decide how we are going to learn from it.