F'fax County Schools Won't Ban Book with Bestiality

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by belimom, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. belimom

    belimom Our lives begin to end the day we become silent ab

    Messages:
    10,568
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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...bd1-11e2-ada0-5ca5fa7ebe79_story.html?hpid=z2
     
  2. Loading...


  3. STEADFAST

    STEADFAST New Member

    Messages:
    9,164
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  4. belimom

    belimom Our lives begin to end the day we become silent ab

    Messages:
    10,568
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  5. belimom

    belimom Our lives begin to end the day we become silent ab

    Messages:
    10,568
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  6. Kat

    Kat Kind words do not cost much

    Messages:
    17,195
    Likes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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).
     
  7. Sheromom

    Sheromom New Member

    Messages:
    1,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    AP children here.....difficult questions needing pragmatic answers....that is why they are AP....these things happen.....YOU are our future....develop discernment!
     
  8. 21merc7

    21merc7 New Member

    Messages:
    10,491
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  9. belimom

    belimom Our lives begin to end the day we become silent ab

    Messages:
    10,568
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  10. txsvicki

    txsvicki Active Member

    Messages:
    14,189
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    36
    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.
     
  11. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Found the reference to beastiality. On page 10 it states the black male slaves raped calves.

     
  12. 21merc7

    21merc7 New Member

    Messages:
    10,491
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  13. deca

    deca New Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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
     
  14. Nova

    Nova Active Member

    Messages:
    19,111
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    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".)
     
  15. belimom

    belimom Our lives begin to end the day we become silent ab

    Messages:
    10,568
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Seems like other school districts are having issue with it as well:

     
  16. thepinkdragon

    thepinkdragon Verified US Army Veteran/Certified Veteran's Menta

    Messages:
    809
    Likes Received:
    277
    Trophy Points:
    63
    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.
     
  17. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

    Messages:
    8,865
    Likes Received:
    231
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Laura Blake Murphy is right about one thing, she is not "some crazy book-burner", she is "a right of right, book burning zealot". IMO.

    One can find her Letters to the Editors about her rapid support for such things as Virginia's HB1 (Personhood Bill) and HB462 (Law to require Transvaginal Ultrasounds prior to abortion). She is a helicopter parent to the extreme, she is chairman of the Lake Braddock PTSA Advanced kAcademic Committee, she describes herself as Homemaker/Self Employed/Lawyer when contributing sizeable amounts to Republican politicians, some of whom are also right of right such as Patrick Timothy McHenry.

    So, I am trying to figure out how the very real legislated 'forced vaginal penetration by lawmakers' is okay, but the mere suggestion of the idea of 'beastiality' is somehow unfit for advanced placement students to encounter. If an advanced placement student can't handle the idea in high school, then maybe they shouldn't be in advanced placement classes.

    I also think its interesting that the school and the area it serves has a Black Race population percentage, significantly below the State average. In other words, its almost lily white. I don't necessarily think she is racist but, I do think she wants to keep it that way.

    I personally think there is something to the saying "Where there is smoke, there is fire."
     
  18. IzzyBlanche

    IzzyBlanche Active Member

    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    38
    BBM.

    First of all, if he's a senior in an AP class, when he goes off to college in just a few short months he's probably going to be exposed to much worse than Beloved. If not in the literature he's studying, then in the dorms. :floorlaugh:

    OK, seriously now. Mom is quoted in the article as saying: “To me, mature references means slavery or the Holocaust,” Laura Murphy said. “I’m not thinking my kid is going to be reading a book with bestiality.”

    I have read the book twice but it was a long time ago, yet I don't remember any recurring theme of bestiality. Was she really that up in arms about that one sentence quoted upthread?

    But no objection to the part where the white male guards force the black male prisoners to perform oral sex on them? That part I do remember.

    Yet the bestiality is the most objectionable part, not the male rape, or that slavery was so horrendous that a mother killed her own child to spare her from it? Oh, those parts are okay. But pity the calves!

    :what: And of course :moo:
     
  19. Nova

    Nova Active Member

    Messages:
    19,111
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    FWIW, my niece had to read Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man for AP English two years ago. It includes a very graphic scene in which a father, sharing a bed with his 12 or 13-year-old daughter, wakes up to discover they are having intercourse.

    I promise you it's a hell of a lot more graphic than "resorted to calves". It's also one of the great works of the English language in the 20th century.

    But then, as so many others have noted, AP English is a college-level course. Parents should be forced to sign permission slips that include a promise to keep their noses out of the curriculum.
     
  20. belimom

    belimom Our lives begin to end the day we become silent ab

    Messages:
    10,568
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I haven't read it so I did not realize that the references to bestiality were just that: references. From reading the article, I got the impression that it was described in graphic detail. I think high school kids know about bestiality already, so merely mentioning it is not going to be anything new, IMO.

    The other issues seem to be more of the focus --- the human suffering, the difficult choice of killing your own child for their benefit, etc.

    Thanks for the info. It does put it into perspective better.
     
  21. Donjeta

    Donjeta Adji Desir, missing from Florida

    Messages:
    19,248
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Does she think reading the Bible is appropriate for her high schoolers? For, you know, there are references to bestiality in that one too.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice