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  1. #1
    belimom's Avatar
    belimom is offline Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter ~MLK Jr
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    F'fax County Schools Won't Ban Book with Bestiality

    Fairfax County parent wants ‘Beloved’ banned from school system


    The book Laura Murphy wants removed from Fairfax County classrooms is considered a modern American classic. It is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a masterpiece of fiction whose author’s 1993 Nobel Prize in literature citation said that she, “in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”

    But Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” Murphy said, depicts scenes of bestiality, gang rape and an infant’s gruesome murder, content she believes could be too intense for teenage readers.

    “It’s not about the author or the awards,” said Murphy, a mother of four whose eldest son had nightmares after reading “Beloved” for his senior-year Advanced Placement English class. “It’s about the content.”

    More at http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...y.html?hpid=z2
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    I tend to agree that Beloved is fairly strong stuff for high-school classrooms. Don't know about banning it, though. I wouldn't assign it to high schoolers.

    I don't remember the bestiality, but it's been many years since I read this.

  3. #3
    belimom's Avatar
    belimom is offline Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter ~MLK Jr
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    Quote Originally Posted by STEADFAST View Post
    I tend to agree that Beloved is fairly strong stuff for high-school classrooms. Don't know about banning it, though. I wouldn't assign it to high schoolers.

    I don't remember the bestiality, but it's been many years since I read this.
    I haven't read it, but based on reviews and this article, I tend to agree with what you say. I don't think the mother in the article is trying to get the book banned as in 'removed from the library'. I think she just wants it taken off the list of required books for the AP English course. And I think that's reasonable, considering the content: bestiality, gang rape, and killing one's own infant.
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  4. #4
    belimom's Avatar
    belimom is offline Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter ~MLK Jr
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    I just did some more research, and it's not uncommon for this book to be on high school required reading lists. Especially AP classes.
    Fly high and free, Jhessye ~

    My posts are meant to help think through possibilities and are strictly an additional opinion under circumstances when many points of view need to be considered. I apologize in advance to anyone whose potential involvement is contemplated in error. Please understand that much of what is happening is merely brainstorming during unfortunate events.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by STEADFAST View Post
    I tend to agree that Beloved is fairly strong stuff for high-school classrooms. Don't know about banning it, though. I wouldn't assign it to high schoolers.

    I don't remember the bestiality, but it's been many years since I read this.
    I'm not a Morrison fan but the subject matter of this book is what is difficult in my opinion.

    The injustices and suffering that slaves experienced in the United States in all it's horror. Morrison doesn't candy coat anything she certainly makes it a sharp and jagged pill to swallow.

    I haven't read it in many years but like you Steadfast I don't remember the bestiality. I can't find my copy of the book so I can't look it up.

    I don't support banning books. But, this book may be difficult for even AP 12th graders to fully grasp. Morrison writes in an experimental style and I'm not too crazy about it but someone once told me to view her writing style as similar to what Miles Davis brings to jazz. His riffs...etc.

    To be honest, I find her work inpenetrable and even if one can begin to unravel her work the end result isn't worth all the effort. (but that's just my opinion).

    But, I don't agree with banning the book. I wouldn't assign it as reading only because it's so difficult. One of Morrison's books was assigned in an upper level senior class in college that I had to take and 99% of the class groaned when it was seen on the list. She's almost as hard to read as Finnegans Wake (Joyce).

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    AP children here.....difficult questions needing pragmatic answers....that is why they are AP....these things happen.....YOU are our future....develop discernment!

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    I see this is for Advanced Placement English. That is not unusual.

    When I was in 8th grade we had to read what was some fairly heavy stuff for that age. I can remember Red Badge of Courage and Heart of Darkness. The rest I have forgotten what they were.

    I think the point was to teach us analytic, poetic, and compassionate reading and understanding skills. I remember at the time I did not understand why we had to read such depressing books, I was just a kid then though, so.... I did understand the reality of the fiction, and it did make me more understanding than I would have been at that time. I think some symbolism was lost as the teacher never got around to explaining a lot of it.

    Unless I have included a link, it is my opinion and only my opinion that I am expressing.

  8. #8
    belimom's Avatar
    belimom is offline Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter ~MLK Jr
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    I understand that AP students need to be pushed at higher levels and that this may include some pretty heavy topics. But there is such a wide variety of great literature to choose from - so why *require* that a child read about bestiality? Gang rape is violent - yes - but the sexual act is a natural one that is being horrifically forced upon someone. Bestiality is not a natural act (I guess those who practice it may disagree). There are plenty of other books out there that can be used to expose students to the complex and dire human situations and decisions that people face all around the world - or have faced in the past, even for AP students.

    Also, she isn't asking for it to be banned - she is asking for it to be removed from the curriculum.
    Fly high and free, Jhessye ~

    My posts are meant to help think through possibilities and are strictly an additional opinion under circumstances when many points of view need to be considered. I apologize in advance to anyone whose potential involvement is contemplated in error. Please understand that much of what is happening is merely brainstorming during unfortunate events.

  9. #9
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    Why don't they just read a book about psychopaths. Forcing anyone to read a book that parents might find inappropriate or sexually violent doesn't seem quite for public servants to decide no matter how smart they think they are.

  10. #10
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    Found the reference to beastiality. On page 10 it states the black male slaves raped calves.

    Sethe was thirteen when she came to Sweet Home ...The five Sweet Home men [all black] looked at the new girl and decided to let her be. They were young and so sick with the absence of women they had taken to calves.


  11. #11
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    I was just discussing this with my ex, he is an English teacher. He did not find it amusing, just boring.

    As we discussed, if they have read Shakespeare (which I hope they have or college will be difficult), then there is no issue. No books, no matter how poor the fiction or non-fiction may be, should ever be off limits. These soon to be out in college or in the working world young folks already know more than this - our opinion - poor work of literature will ever teach them. They have the internet, cable tv, and their own lives.

    He was just annoyed that I thought it worthy of conversation really, lol.

    Unless I have included a link, it is my opinion and only my opinion that I am expressing.

  12. #12
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    AP are college level courses. If you want your child taking a college level course then you must feel that they are mature enough to handle heavy topics.
    I took AP classes. AP Literature is/was offered in 11th grade so most kids were 16/17 years old. We read some horrible books about war and violence. Sometimes there were rape scenes. It was disturbing, but at the same time none of us were shocked by anything we read. We were 16 years old and had watched enough TV and movies that portrayed that. Just think Law and Order or CSI! Kids can be a lot smarter/ world wise than they are given credit for. Especially AP/Honors kids.

    Generally, The reading list was published before classes started so if parents were concerned about a particular book they could request that their child be given a separate assignment.

    JMO

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    Isn't Beloved covered on the AP test? AP courses have to prepared students to pass the course that will give them the college credit; there may be some leeway, but I don't think the curriculum is entirely up to each school.

    (And for what it's worth, based on what my Midwest-dairy-farm-raised husband says about his neighbors, it wasn't just slaves who "resorted to calves".)

  14. #14
    belimom's Avatar
    belimom is offline Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter ~MLK Jr
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    Seems like other school districts are having issue with it as well:

    Updated: Committee Votes to Keep 'Beloved' in Plymouth-Canton Classrooms
    Challenged book to remain in AP English Literature classrooms.


    By John McKay Email the author January 20, 2012

    http://plymouth-mi.patch.com/articles/belovedstays
    Fly high and free, Jhessye ~

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  15. #15
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    thepinkdragon is offline Verified US Army Veteran/Certified Veteran's Mental Health & PTSD Advocate
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    I read this in AP English in 1994. I can assure you I had been reading more graphic novels than this beforehand. It is a fantastic book and I don't see a reason why 17 and 18 yr olds should not read it.

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