Literature Spelunking: Explore the Possibilites discussion

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Young Adult > The Day They Came To Arrest The Book

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message 1: by Desiree', Teacher 'n Training (last edited Mar 10, 2015 12:14AM) (new)

Desiree' (sequoia01) | 37 comments Mod
-Discuss how the arrest of the book of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn impedes on The First Amendment of Free Speech and publication rights.

-Why is the teaching and reading of Huck Finn so controversial?

-Under what circumstances, if any, do you think a book should be taken off a school's reading list and/or out of its library and placed on the banned book list? Do you believe the banned book list should exist? Why or why not?

-Huckleberry Finn deals with serious themes: murder, revenge, slavery, betrayal, conscience, abuse, and alcoholism. Is this really a book for high school students? Would a contemporary novel dealing with the same issues be assigned reading?

-What did you learn from reading The Day They Came to Arrest the Book?

-After reading "The Day...," what are your feelings on behalf of the First Amendment of Free Speech and publication rights?

-Are you going to take your Constitutional Rights seriously?


message 2: by Larry (new)

Larry (lerogers) | 6 comments I don't believe in banning books, though I do believe in providing adequate context for books used in classroom settings. As a school board member, I support teachers' and students' reading choices. As a library board member, I support a censorship-free library.


message 3: by Desiree', Teacher 'n Training (new)

Desiree' (sequoia01) | 37 comments Mod
What do you think of Adams 12 School Board in Boulder, CO voting to settle a 2010 challenge to restrict the teaching of Toni Morrison's book "The Bluest Eye" from advanced placement Literature classes by the superintendent? The book was not eligible to be reviewed by a full committee. I believe by making the book ineligible for review by a full committee circumnavigates the due process of rectifying the 2010 challenge of the multiple topics of racism, incest, rape and abuse are subjects of speculation and are not to be acknowledged or discussed in the public venue. By ignoring and perpetuating ignorance, people who want to silence literature in the classroom want to silence awareness of racism, incest, rape and abuse.


message 4: by Larry (new)

Larry (lerogers) | 6 comments That the "concerned citizens" viewed the superintendent's solution (separate sections with and without the book, permission slips, the right to opt out of reading the book) as "arbitrary and capricious" indicates their hard-shell nature. They say that they don't want to ban the book, but they do want to ban its use in classrooms. That the board sided with the superintendent rather than the "concerned parents" isn't the worst of choices, but it sidesteps the issue and takes teacher decision-making out of the process. It also approves a very cumbersome method of conflict resolution. What if various groups want to remove three or four books from the classroom? Do you choose to have separate curricula for banned and non-banned books? Do you have more than two curricula if the book-banners can't agree which books are targeted? And how long would it be until the books in the library are challenged.

The matter of citing developmental appropriateness in an AP classroom should have been challenged directly. The particular situation is not like using Morrison in a 6th-grade classroom. AP classes prepare students for college-level work and college faculty don't cede control of the curriculum to parents except in some overtly sectarian schools.

I would have voted against the compromise, and I surely would have voted against making district policy more restrictive on book choices.


message 5: by Desiree', Teacher 'n Training (last edited Nov 13, 2014 11:53PM) (new)

Desiree' (sequoia01) | 37 comments Mod
I believe the overall process of the removal of the book disintegrates the teacher's ability to make valid decisions on educational tools implemented in the classroom regardless of justifying the reason being a poor choice in literature. The intervention technique applied by the committee and the superintendent invalidates the teachers ability to make rational academic choices in the classroom regardless of public vs. private. In regards to the AP Lit class, the committee should maintain the acknowledgment of higher educational goals for those students who have met the academic standards to make cognitive interpretations based on the explicit figurative language of the text itself.

However, intervention in the classroom devalues the relationship a teacher has with the students; parental circumnavigating of the curriculum because it is too personal or detailed, jeopardizes our educational system. This ability to circumnavigate what curriculum will be taught makes for an inhospitable learning environment; this creates an inaccessible education that is meant to be "free and equal for all." This creation of conflict toward equal access to public education develops societal ramifications. If we don't prepare our students for higher education, they won't be able to compete with those teachers who create underground learning centers based on religious persecution. Those who are willing to die for literature, and those, who persecute literature. The lack of competition, is relative to the fact students won't possess the respect toward literature that others who fight for genuine gender equality in education possess because both perceptions will develop estranged from each other based on access to literature and other curriculum. Taking a stand for an equal public education means "free and equal education for all." If we justify curriculum as unjustified, what kind of a stand is taken against "a free and equal education for all?" I think the removal of curriculum for a free and equal education is making an attempt toward quarantine and prohibit educational facilitation; therefore, it becomes a hindrance to teach curriculum that isn't validated as acceptable. This is a form of tyranny within a fascist educational system in my opinion.


message 6: by Larry (new)

Larry (lerogers) | 6 comments I just reviewed a form by which library patrons can object to the purchase or display of a given item. It reminds me of the issues involved in the superintendent's intervention in the book selection process in response to heavy pressure from a small group. I cannot imagine approving either case of book censorship. As a long-time teacher, I doubly cannot imagine making the curriculum or the book holdings of the library hostages to someone else's ideology. The argument from student development (that a book will harm or stunt development) has no significant empirical base.


message 7: by Desiree', Teacher 'n Training (last edited Nov 21, 2014 04:33PM) (new)

Desiree' (sequoia01) | 37 comments Mod
I doubly agree with your perspective. However, in today's society there exists too many objections in regards to education and making independent decisions. This reminds me of the 1950's and Senator McCarthy's Communist (Witch Hunt) propaganda. On February 9, 1950, he claimed he had a list of 205 people in the State Department who were known members of the American Communist Party. Also, the 1950's did spawn its own era of propaganda that everything that isn't wholesome is bad for you. I believe we as a society haven't evolved; too many people are continuing to interfere in everyone else's sphere of circumstance. I don't agree with the retrograde of societal control. Education is in trouble if people have too much control over others and fear of what they don't wish to learn. This is the heart of the problem.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

-Discuss how the arrest of the book "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" impedes on The First Amendment of Free Speech and publication rights.

I don't believe the banning of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" impedes on The First Amendment of Free Speech and publication rights.

-Why is the teaching and reading of Huck Finn so controversial?

I don't believe "Huck Finn" is controversial to anyone only those who are ignorant and attempt to eradicate everything they don't want to understand this historical document was published to warrant and elucidate societal experiences of the time period.

I don't believe any book should be removed from any library public or K-12 library. I believe anyone should have access to any book they want to read regardless of content or theme. I learned the high school characters didn't want the book to be banned and removed from the school library. I liked Barney. Barney was able to truly delve into the relationship between the previous librarian and the existing Principle, and learned why she left, and was able to publish his finding in the school newspaper. Kate has much to learn about life experiences and her activism deters her from learning about the truth and revealing facts that would help her with her causes. The Principle is a "pacifist," he doesn't care about what problems exist, only he doesn't wish to stand up for the school. He is a coward.

I enjoyed reading the book. I learned that if you remove books from your library, you will eventually not have anything to read or learn from.


message 9: by Desiree', Teacher 'n Training (last edited May 28, 2015 04:18PM) (new)

Desiree' (sequoia01) | 37 comments Mod
deleted user wrote: "-Discuss how the arrest of the book "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" impedes on The First Amendment of Free Speech and publication rights.

I don't believe the banning of "The Adventures of Huc..."


I enjoyed reading this book. The characters are truly fighting to be heard on behalf of their feelings toward how "Huck Finn" makes them react to the subject matter in question. Either it is anti-feminist, religious or racist and their reacting to how it makes them feel in today's societal opportunity to speak out against the emotions that have been built up.

The Day They Came to Arrest the Book is about the ability and opportunity to speak out about your feelings about a misinterpreted book. Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as an autobiographical statement against the issues he was faced with.

Literature, in my opinion, is the opportunity to express yourself. It is the second most important venue we have as evolved humans to express ourselves so people will read what we have to say about any subject we are free to chose to write about. It so happens, racism, religion and feminism were three subjects of Twain's life that were in its height of development and critical sentiment here in the New World.

People questioned how to integrate with others. What I also like about the book, is Nat Hentoff begins with Democracy in America written by Alexis de Tocqueville about the developing new Democracy in this newly formed state, The United States of America and how "the individual differences were becoming blurred in this grand rule by the people government."

Alexis de Tocqueville made the inquiry of "every citizen" conformed and assimilated or became a societal outcast, because true individuality had become "lost in the crowd, and nothing stands conspicuous but the great and imposing image of the people at large."

Alexis de Tocqueville also made an observation upon the people, that few Americans failed to rally against popular opinion in this new nation.

Nat Hentoff does an excellent job of portraying the events in this book about questioning what is appropriate and inappropriate to teach subject matter in out public school system. He brings up our individual rights as a citizen, regardless of our age group, and he posts what people condemn because of their feelings against what they want people to ride the wave of inclusion vs exclusion based upon popular public opinion.

I guess that is why it is called public school; we are stuck in a dissent of public opinion. Maybe instead of having a public school system, we should have a charter system established throughout our educational system aside of secular education? The charter education system is run by private corporate companies for the most part. Would we truly have the opportunity for an open reflecting educational system if private companies ran our educational system? We as a people are already familiar with secular education and it is censored education for the most part.

I don't like the idea of censoring a book. I however thought the best analysis in the censoring of a book was to use the Bible as an example. The Bible has incest, rape, antisemitism, murder, executions and unproven opinions, etc. I like how the author used the censorship toward the Bible for censorship against all books; because the Bible is a book no matter how you attempt to distinguish it from all other written literature. I believe it would be a good idea to put the Bible on trial for censorship; it would make for a good trial of how it makes feminists feel, Jews and many other people who wished to speak out against the Bible.


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