Archive for Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Novel approach

December 28, 2005


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.

Kate Mather,



mefirst 12 years, 4 months ago

Excellent point. Besides, what great thinkers weren't questionable? Is the Bible not questionable?

sweetpeagj 12 years, 4 months ago

I could understand if the schools wanted the kids to read crap work but all the books are classics and great examples of literature at it's best. Maybe it is some of the values that you mentioned Kate that they don't want their children to acknowledge

DuQuesne 12 years, 4 months ago

Thank you, Kate, for helping keep alive the hope that the next generation will be up to the task when it's time for them to take the society's helm. You're absolutely correct, too, when you say the classroom is the best setting to read novels. If you watch and listen closely, I think you'll find that most of the parents who object to particular books are the same ones who WILL NOT take up a discussion of the material contained in them in their own home. I have been personally acquainted with several parents who simply were not equipped to participate in such discussions; We hire teachers to teach and to help students learn not so we'll have someone to blame. -Schuyler Duquesne

DebaterDani 12 years, 4 months ago

Kate, you are absolutely correct, because you have just stated what every single student I have talked to has said. I actually said those very things on the community forum, but you were the one who published them. Great job, and once again, thank you for showing people the light and the right way to go about this topic.

It isn't the parent's position to determine what we read and do not read, because EVERYTHING is infact controversial if you think about it, and the only works worth reading are those that pose some "threat" if you will, to a person's thinking. The works that teachers choose are meant to make us think about society as it is now and compare it to what these authors are saying.

School is for us to learn, and how can we learn if we are subjected to restrictions? Learning is not about restrictions and no teacher has ever said that before...why start now?

The reasons parents want to rid our curriculum of these books, are the reasons I actually read them for school, and why the teachers choose them. If I can't learn about these important subjects in high school, is that going to change how college and life are for me? Parents are so worried about their child's mind, that they don't take into account other situations, other than reading, that their kids are in. They are just scapegoating something else, but the something they are scapegoating now, is something worse listening to: Literature.

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