Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Grisham's A Time To Kill Challenged

In Fargo North Dakota, two parents want to take A Time to Kill by John Grisham out of the North High School AP English class where it is compared and contrasted with To Kill A Mockingbird. The book contains graphic descriptions of rape and later the bloody killing of the rapists by the victim's father.

"Teens who are unaware of sensitive scenes lying between the covers of a book could be traumatized."

Traumatized? I watched the film "Glory" in 9th grade, where they blew someone's head off within five minutes of the opening credits. AP english usually means 12th graders, kids who will soon have the right to vote, enlist in the army, and sit on a jury of their peers in cases that have to do with rape and murder.

I would love to poll North High School kids about how reading books by Grisham have "Traumatized" them.

Something else about this article caught my attention. For the most part, it seems that book challengers' children are mostly DAUGHTERS. Where did this idea come from that girls need protection from books?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And we wonder why our children are out of control. It is books like these that put ideas and cause our childrens imagination to run wild. Why does a child need to read about how a helpless 10 yr old is raped in detail. This is sick. No wonder there are so many sick-o's out there. They get a kick out of reading such. It only fuels the fire and contributes to such crimes being committed today. This is what happens when God is taking out of school. Satan slips in.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Concerned Parent said...

We wonder why are children are killing each other and are committing terrible crimes such as John Grisham has written. These books only fuel the fire of our young childrens mind and set their imagination in full gear. These books are very harmful to the mental health of children. This is what happens when God is taken off the shelf in school and is replaced with such as this.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Iris said...

I had to publish these comments.. they showed up in my mailbox recently, and while I disagree with their point of view, they don't appear to be spam, which is always nice.

Dear concerned parent and a-nony-mouse, I truly feel bad that you believe books are so dangerous. I hope that in the future you focus your concern on something more important like world hunger, or perhaps immigration or internet porn. Let me remind you that the students we are discussing are 12th graders, and I strongly suspect that most seniors in high school have seen and read stories in which terrible things happen to good people. The bible does come to mind as one text containing numerous graphic depictions of violence. I would not want children to be barred from reading it, however.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Erica said...

I am sure you will be unsurprised to see that I disagree with anonymous and/or Concerned Parent. My opinion is more along the lines of:

What? They're worried about To Kill A Mockingbird? Have they watched the news? Or taken a look at what the culture at most junior highs and high schools are like? I think they're right to be concerned about kids being traumatized by violence, but those particular books are not the problem. And as you point out, 12th grade is a little late to start being concerned.

I can appreciate the parents' desire to protect their children. I can even appreciate why they might begin to object to the academic curriculum in a misguided and futile attempt to protect their children: it is pretty much impossible to protect children from violence in their daily lives, but at least the academic curriculum is under the parents' control.

If nothing else, I think the discussion of the violent scenes in the books might be a way to help the kids process ideas and images that they are, most likely, already aware of.

4:25 PM  

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