Several of you took the time this week to participate in my first ever link up! Below, you'll find the posts - there were some really great contributions! (All emphases original). Rebekah - "Banned Books Change Lives."
If To Kill a Mockingbird (or other books that contain “the n-word”) were banned, this conversation never would have happened. If we had never brought the “n-word” into our classroom, all those students would still not understand why their hackles raise when they hear it, or why it is taboo to say it. If I or the school or the parents had tried to sweep it under the rug, my students would have remained ignorant, and the only way to make any good out of our messy, hurtful, embarrassing history is to stop it from repeating itself. So I ask you this: If we sanitize our schools of all the ugly past, how will we ever learn from it?
Keegan, "Farenheit 451."
But I think what's so significant about this book is that it's not so much the government that bars people from owning and reading books--it's the society itself. It's not about tyrannical censorship; it's about self-censorship by way of apathy, hedonism, and a lack of education.
Kaoru, "Banned Books Week."
An educated populous is dangerous. We have to fight to learn these days, and giving ground on the issue of books will only make the rest of the fight harder.
So read. Read to your heart’s content and more. Know what happens, understand how these books have influenced thought and policy, and if a book is banned, seek it out and become the living repository of its message.
Kim, "Looking For Alaska."
I didn’t learn how to give a blowjob from Looking for Alaska when I read it as a 19-year-old college freshman. I didn’t become sexually active or promiscuous from reading a scene that, frankly, made me never want to give a blowjob in my life. I doubt many teens took some sort of sexual knowledge or gratification from the words John Green put to paper. So what did I learn from the book?
I had a vague inkling that my world view might be a touch narrow, so my freshman year of college, I took an African-American Literature class, and we were assigned Toni Morrison’sBeloved, a book that has been challenged many, many times in school districts across the country. It was painful to read and utterly mesmerizing. I could not put it down even though a part of me wanted to. I mean, I knew slavery existed and that it was a bad thing, but that book busted me open and gave me a tiny peek into what it was actually like. And I fell in love with Toni Morrison’s brilliant use of language, and I remember being pissed off that in all my honors and AP classes, no one had bothered to tell me that this woman’s writing even existed – and yet they felt perfectly justified in making me read Silas Marner, a book that had been boring high school freshmen at my school for 20 years.
Morgan, "The Banned Book That Made Me An Activist."
In all seriousness though, The Handmaid's Tale changed the way I view the world in the space of a few short weeks. It was the catalyst for me to bring my feminism out of the conceptual and into the actual, so that even if the world goes to Gileaden hell, at least I'll know I did everything I could. In reading The Handmaid's Tale and seeing so many similarities to laws being enacted in the US today, I realized that taking rights for granted means they might be taken away.
Thanks to everyone for participating!