Married and back to the blog

Okay, back to reality for me.

Back to work, back to sports, back to blogging. Business as usual.

Finished Of Mice and Men before I left to Georgia for my wedding and finished To Kill A Mockingbird on the airplane to Italy.

Of Mice and Men an American story of deteriorated dreams written very lyrically by John Steinbeck.

To Kill A Mockingbird a wonderfully written, heartfelt story told from the perspective of a southern child. Written by Harper Lee.

There is no doubt that these books are classics and they are very well written. However, is the language in these books too vulgar/racist for the 21st Century? I say, yes.

To me, it makes no difference if you are saying a vulgar/racist word out loud or if you are saying it in your head when reading. It feels wrong. It feels uncomfortable. Are children reading these in school? I don’t remember reading it in school but I don’t remember a lot of things growing up.

(pause for research)

“very widely taught in English-speaking public schools in America…”

Well, okay.

I haven’t done a lot of research on this subject so you will need to excuse me for my ignorance. But please, feel free to comment on this post with any additional information or opinions on this subject.

Reading Pride and Prejudice now

3 thoughts on “Married and back to the blog

  1. I’m in the middle of marking essays on “Of Mice and Men” – S3 in Scotland – 14 year olds basically. At first the kids find the treatment and language concerning the character Crooks quite offensive but as they developed more knowledge and understanding of the context they all enjoyed the whole thing but in the final essay some people said they found it racist, sexist and pretty sad. I can’t argue with that. Still I need to enjoy books for what they are rather than simply a teaching resource. Good luck with your stuff though. I’ve read both those books but never had cause to teach the.

  2. Thanks for your response!

  3. Muuurgh says:

    The reasons you state for being uncomfortable are exactly why these books were banned. I think that you should consider looking at it differently, though: these books are too vulgar and racist for the 21st Century, and that’s exactly why they should continue to be part of public schools’ curriculums. They *should* make you feel uncomfortable and *should* be jarring, and thus lessons should be learned from them, prompting educative discussion and teaching social acceptance and tolerance.
    It’s easy to forget (and amazing to remember!) that a very major act to end racial segregation was passed in *1964*. Amazing. That’s when my father was 10 years old.
    To put it even further, it’s amazing to think about how crazy it is that we had the Tuskegee Airmen in the Tattoo this year. Think about it: they were the first black pilots and underwent all of the scrutiny of being such. People are still alive that remember when the military was segregated. Yesterday when we ate lunch with the Tuskegees, there was an older white woman who came up and hugged the men. I can’t imagine how they feel about that–how they’re getting heavily praised by people of the very race that wouldn’t originally allow them to fight for their country, and by a woman who seemed old enough to remember segregation in schools.
    My point is, racism that is unfathomable to those our age happened within the lifetime of those still living. In the context of history, it’s extremely fresh. Equality is brand new. Therefore, we have to tread lightly when phasing out these books. Schoolchildren need to realize how atrocious recent history is so as not to repeat it, and censorship does not do that trick. You can tell students a hundred times that sixty years ago schools were still segregated, but that they truly CONCEIVE that is highly unlikely. It is only through unabashed teaching of real examples that they will understand and therefore learn why those vulgarities have no place in humanity.
    That being said, enjoy your early 19th-century literature! It’s going to be quite different, haha.

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