Classic literature corrupts children

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Chelsea Kartchner

Almost every American school has a special place in their building; a place where books line the shelves and imaginations run wild. However, in some libraries, parents are questioning if some books should be allowed to be viewed by young children’s eyes.

In June 2010, a book titled In Our Mother’s House was placed in various elementary schools in a Utah school district after learning that there was a student there who was being raised by a lesbian couple. The book is about a lesbian couple who are raising their children to be loving, to know that being different is not a bad thing and that they are a normal family. It was placed in schools’ libraries in an effort to be inclusive and sensitive towards the student who is being raised by two mothers.

The book came under fire when one of the students brought the book home and their mother filed complaint about the material being in a school. A spokesperson for the Davis School District of Utah was quoted by The Chicago Tribune as saying, “what’s objectionable to one person is fine to another.” He also went on to say that people have opposed other popular books like the “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” series because of their beliefs.

A lawsuit was filed on Nov. 13, 2012 by The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah after the Davis School District told schools to remove the book from their shelves. A decision in the Davis School District was made by a committee of parents and teachers that the book would still be available to students, but they would need written parental consent and have to get the book from the librarian’s desk.

The subject of banning book has always something that I didn’t understand. It wasn’t until I recently read something by author John Milton, who addressed a similar topic, that I was able to attain a better grasp as to why some school districts choose to ban certain books. Milton says that killing a book is like killing reason itself.

One could say that the act of this school system banning the book can be compared to an attempt of killing the idea of homosexuality. That in itself is a whole other battle that people have differing and strong opinions about.

I also thought about the book “Reading Lolita in Tehran” which I read during my freshman year of college. In this book, the narrator shows how movies in Tehran, Iran needed to first go through a censorship test before being allowed to be shown theaters.

This was another way that the people tried to hide certain subjects from young minds. A major theme in this novel was that just because the book is banned doesn’t mean it’s going to stop the reader from reading it.

Other famous books that have been banned or have been challenged in school systems include The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies and The Color Purple.

Even though these books have been a source of controversy, they are still remembered today as great and classic works of writing.

 

Email: ckartchner@radford.edu