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teeniebeenie6

Shocked that this book is on the Grade 11 common core reading list. Scary!

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To the best of my knowledge my big boys never read this particular book while in high school, but if they had brought it up I would not have been opposed. I know that my oldest took a college lit/ comp course his first semester titled The African American Male in American Society, but I have no idea what all he read for the course. At that point, it was truly out of my hands. ;) So, if you oppose reading and discussing this sort of book or topic in high school, just be aware that they may be discussing them in college away from you where you can offer no guidance or discussion.

Mandy

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The one in the dictionary.

 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pornography

 

1. the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement

 

2. material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement

 

It is most certainly not pornography by any standard use of the word.

 

It causes sexual excitement for pedophiles.

 

So is it OK for gay men to write sexually explicit material about a man and a woman because it is "not intending" to excite them personally? That should be allowed and not considered porn, but if a straight person was to write it then its porn because it was intended to cause sexual excitement?

 

Maybe she didn't "intend" for this book to do those things but IT DOES for some people. And therefore is porn

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Okay, I'm going to say it. Sorry.

 

The one phrase describes him having sex with his daughter. His daughter. His daughter.

 

My school's required reading for 11th grade is The Crucible and Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby is teacher's option.

Why are you sorry?? Incest is part of the story.

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It's a suggestion. It's not appropriate for every community, but let's be realistic here -- there are large swaths of the country where pupils this age have been sexually active for several years.

 

Unless a parent has been exceedingly diligent in imposing limits on what their children read and view, this is not going to be anything new to a pupil of this age.

 

Personally I don't really impose limits for written material, although I would not _suggest_ this to my seven-year-old.

Sexually active and child r*pe and incest are two very different things.

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It causes sexual excitement for pedophiles.

 

So is it OK for gay men to write sexually explicit material about a man and a woman because it is "not intending" to excite them personally? That should be allowed and not considered porn, but if a straight person was to write it then its porn because it was intended to cause sexual excitement?

 

Maybe he didn't "intend" for this book to do those things but IT DOES for some people. And therefore is porn

 

If we were to eliminate all objects and ideas from the world that could potentially arouse someone, all that would be left is a bare, white room and even then some people would have to be blindfolded.

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Why are you sorry?? Incest is part of the story.

 

And, unfortunately, life.

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I'm sorry but anyway you look at it, with the words and phrases used... it IS pornography. I am amazed at how loose some people's standards are.

My standards are actually quite high. Your comment is rude.

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If we were to eliminate all objects and ideas from the world that could potentially around someone, all that would be left is a bare, white room and even then some people would have to be blindfolded.

 

We are talking about rape!!!!!! Not sex. Rape. Child rape. 

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We are talking about rape!!!!!! Not sex. Rape. Child rape. 

 

In a work of literature!!!!! But you're sidestepping the point.

 

You said:

 

Maybe he didn't "intend" for this book to do those things but IT DOES for some people. And therefore is porn

 

And I pointed out how ridiculous this definition is.

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Please someone list the benefits of a person/teenager reading in fine detail the acts of a father raping his child. Please tell me the upsides, benefits, and reasons why it would be a good idea.

 

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In a work of literature!!!!! But you're sidestepping the point.

 

You said:

 

 

And I pointed out how ridiculous this definition is.

In no way shape or form is explicit incest and child rape scenes a work of literature. I am side stepping nothing. She could have wrote the book without the detail. The detail never needs written or read to understand anything. 

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From what I've read about Common Core, it is all about the testing, so if the book in question appears on a test, then yes, the book would be required, despite claims teachers have a choice over which books they teach.

 

I really liked this article that Hillsdale College put in their newsletter this month: 

The Case for Good Taste in Children's Books

 

July/August 2013 Meghan Cox Gurdon
Children's Book Reviewer
The Wall Street Journal The Case for Good Taste in Children's Books

MEGHAN COX GURDON has been the children’s book reviewer for the Wall Street Journal since 2005. Her work has also appeared in numerous other publications, including the Washington Post, the Washington Examiner, the San Francisco Chronicle, National Review, and the Weekly Standard. In the 1990s, she worked as an overseas correspondent in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and London, and traveled and reported from Cambodia, Somalia, China, Israel, South Korea, and Northern Ireland. She graduated magna cum laude from Bowdoin College in 1986 and lives near Washington, D.C., with her husband and their five children.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered at Hillsdale College on March 12, 2013, sponsored by the College’s Dow Journalism Program.

 

ON JUNE 4, 2011, the number one trending topic on Twitter was the Anthony Weiner scandal. I happen to remember that, because the number two topic on Twitter that day—almost as frenzied, though a lot less humorous—had to do with an outrageous, intolerable attack on Young Adult literature . . . by me. Entitled “Darkness Too Visible,†my article discussed the increasingly dark current that runs through books classified as YA, for Young Adult—books aimed at readers between 12 and 18 years of age—a subset that has, in the four decades since Young Adult became a distinct category in fiction, become increasingly lurid, grotesque, profane, sexual, and ugly.

 

Books show us the world, and in that sense, too many books for adolescents act like funhouse mirrors, reflecting hideously distorted portrayals of life. Those of us who have grown up understand that the teen years can be fraught and turbulent—and for some kids, very unhappy—but at the same time we know that in the arc of human life, these years are brief. Today, too many novels for teenagers are long on the turbulence and short on a sense of perspective. Nor does it help that the narrative style that dominates Young Adult books is the first person present tense— “I, I, I,†and “now, now, now.†Writers use this device to create a feeling of urgency, to show solidarity with the reader and to make the reader feel that he or she is occupying the persona of the narrator. The trouble is that the first person present tense also erects a kind of verbal prison, keeping young readers in the turmoil of the moment just as their hormones tend to do. This narrative style reinforces the blinkers teenagers often seem to be wearing, rather than drawing them out and into the open.

 

Bringing Judgment

The late critic Hilton Kramer was seated once at a dinner next to film director Woody Allen. Allen asked him if he felt embarrassed when he met people socially whom he’d savaged in print. “No,†Kramer said, “they’re the ones who made the bad art. I just described it.†As the story goes, Allen fell gloomily silent, having once made a film that had received the Kramer treatment.

 

I don’t presume to have a nose as sensitive as Hilton Kramer’s—but I do know that criticism is pointless if it’s only boosterism. To evaluate anything, including children’s books, is to engage the faculty of judgment, which requires that great bugbear of the politically correct, “discrimination.†Thus, in responding to my article, YA book writers Judy Blume and Libba Bray charged that I was giving comfort to book-banners, and Publisher’s Weekly warned of a “danger†that my arguments “encourage a culture of fear around YA literature.†But I do not, in fact, wish to ban any books or frighten any authors. What I do wish is that people in the book business would exercise better taste; that adult authors would not simply validate every spasm of the teen experience; and that our culture was not marching toward ever-greater explicitness in depictions of sex and violence.

 

Books for children and teenagers are written, packaged, and sold by adults. It follows from this that the emotional depictions they contain come to young people with a kind of adult imprimatur. As a school librarian in Idaho wrote to her colleagues in my defense: “You are naïve if you think young people can read a dark and violent book that sits on the library shelves and not believe that that behavior must be condoned by the adults in their school lives.â€

 

What kind of books are we talking about? Let me give you three examples—but with a warning that some of what you’re about to hear is not appropriate for younger listeners.

A teenaged boy is kidnapped, drugged, and nearly raped by a male captor. After escaping, he comes across a pair of weird glasses that transport him to a world of almost impossible cruelty. Moments later, he finds himself facing a wall of horrors, “covered with impaled heads and other dripping, black-rot body parts: hands, hearts, feet, ears, penises. Where the f— was this?â€

 

That’s from Andrew Smith’s 2010 Young Adult novel, The Marbury Lens.

 

A girl struggles with self-hatred and self-injury. She cuts herself with razors secretly, but her secret gets out when she’s the victim of a sadistic sexual prank. Kids at school jeer at her, calling her “cutterslut.†In response, “she had sliced her arms to ribbons, but the badness remained, staining her insides like cancer. She had gouged her belly until it was a mess of meat and blood, but she still couldn’t breathe.â€

 

That’s from Jackie Morse Kessler’s 2011 Young Adult novel, Rage.

 

I won’t read you the most offensive excerpts from my third example, which consist of explicit and obscene descriptions by a 17-year-old female narrator of sexual petting, of oral sex, and of rushing to a bathroom to defecate following a breakup. Yet School Library Journal praised Daria Snadowsky’s 2008 Young Adult novel, Anatomy of a Boyfriend, for dealing “in modern terms with the real issues of discovering sex for the first time.†And Random House, its publisher, gushed about the narrator’s “heartbreakingly honest voice†as she recounts the “exquisite ups and dramatic downs of teenage love and heartbreak.â€

 

The book industry, broadly speaking, says: Kids have a right to read whatever they want. And if you follow the argument through it becomes: Adults should not discriminate between good and bad books or stand as gatekeepers, deciding what young people should read. In other words, the faculty of judgment and taste that we apply in every other area of life involving children should somehow vaporize when it comes in contact with the printed word.

 

I appeared on National Public Radio to discuss these issues with the Young Adult book author Lauren Myracle, who has been hailed as a person “on the front lines in the fight for freedom of expressionâ€â€”as if any controversy over whether a book is appropriate for children turns on the question of the author’s freedom to express herself. Myracle made clear that she doesn’t believe there should be any line between adult literature and literature for young people. In saying this, she was echoing the view that prevails in many progressive, secular circles—that young people should encounter material that jolts them out of their comfort zone; that the world is a tough place; and that there’s no point shielding children from reality. I took the less progressive, less secular view that parents should take a more interventionist approach, steering their children away from books about sex and horror and degradation, and towards books that make aesthetic and moral claims.

 

Now, although it may seem that our culture is split between Left and Right on the question of permissiveness regarding children’s reading material, in fact there is not so much division on the core issue as might appear. Secular progressives, despite their reaction to my article, have their own list of books they think young people shouldn’t read—for instance, books they claim are tinged with racism or jingoism or that depict traditional gender roles. Regarding the latter, you would not believe the extent to which children’s picture books today go out of the way to show father in an apron and mother tinkering with machinery. It’s pretty funny. But my larger point here is that the self-proclaimed anti-book-banners on the Left agree that books influence children and prefer some books to others.

 

Indeed, in the early years of the Cold War, many left-wing creative people in America gravitated toward children’s literature. Philip Nel, a professor at Kansas State University, has written that Red-hunters, “seeing children’s books as a field dominated by women . . . deemed it less important and so did not watch it closely.†Among the authors I am referring to are Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Ruth Krauss, author of the 1952 classic A Hole is to Dig, illustrated by a young Maurice Sendak. Krauss was quite open in her belief that children’s literature was an excellent means of putting left-wing ideas into young minds. Or so she hoped.

 

When I was a little girl I read The Cat in the Hat, and I took from it an understanding of the sanctity of private property—it outraged me when the Cat and Thing One and Thing Two rampaged through the children’s house while their mother was away. Dr. Seuss was probably not intending to inculcate capitalist ideas—quite the contrary. But it happened in my case, and the point is instructive.

 

Taste and Beauty

A recent study conducted at Virginia Tech found that college women who read “chick litâ€â€”light novels that deal with the angst of being a modern woman—reported feeling more insecure about themselves and their bodies after reading novels in which the heroines feel insecure about themselves and their bodies. Similarly, federal researchers were puzzled for years by a seeming paradox when it came to educating children about the dangers of drugs and tobacco. There seemed to be a correlation between anti-drug and anti-tobacco programs in elementary and middle schools and subsequent drug and tobacco use at those schools. It turned out that at the same time children were learning that drugs and tobacco were bad, they were taking in the meta-message that adults expected them to use drugs and tobacco.

 

This is why good taste matters so much when it comes to books for children and young adults. Books tell children what to expect, what life is, what culture is, how we are expected to behave—what the spectrum is. Books don’t just cater to tastes. They form tastes. They create norms—and as the examples above show, the norms young people take away are not necessarily the norms adults intend. This is why I am skeptical of the social utility of so-called “problem novelsâ€â€”books that have a troubled main character, such as a girl with a father who started raping her when she was a toddler and anonymously provides her with knives when she is a teenager hoping that she will cut herself to death. (This scenario is from Cheryl Rainfield’s 2010 Young Adult novel, Scars, which School Library Journal hailed as “one heck of a good book.â€) The argument in favor of such books is that they validate the real and terrible experiences of teenagers who have been abused, addicted, or raped—among other things. The problem is that the very act of detailing these pathologies, not just in one book but in many, normalizes them. And teenagers are all about identifying norms and adhering to them.

 

In journalist Emily Bazelon’s recent book about bullying, she describes how schools are using a method called “social norming†to discourage drinking and driving. “The idea,†she writes, “is that students often overestimate how much other kids drink and drive, and when they find out that it’s less prevalent than they think—outlier behavior rather than the norm—they’re less likely to do it themselves.†The same goes for bullying: “When kids understand that cruelty isn’t the norm,†Bazelon says, “they’re less likely to be cruel themselves.â€

 

Now isn’t that interesting?

 

Ok, you say, but books for kids have always been dark. What about Hansel and Gretel? What about the scene in Beowulf where the monster sneaks into the Danish camp and starts eating people?

 

Beowulf is admittedly gruesome in parts—and fairy tales are often scary. Yet we approach them at a kind of arm’s length, almost as allegory. In the case of Beowulf, furthermore, children reading it—or having it read to them—are absorbing the rhythms of one of mankind’s great heroic epics, one that explicitly reminds us that our talents come from God and that we act under God’s eye and guidance. Even with the gore, Beowulf won’t make a child callous. It will help to civilize him.

 

English philosopher Roger Scruton has written at length about what he calls the modern “flight from beauty,†which he sees in every aspect of our contemporary culture. “It is not merely,†he writes, “that artists, directors, musicians and others connected with the artsâ€â€”here we might include authors of Young Adult literature—“are in a flight from beauty . . . . There is a desire to spoil beauty . . . . For beauty makes a claim on us; it is a call to renounce our narcisissm and look with reverence on the world.â€

 

We can go to the Palazzo Borghese in Rome and stand before Caravaggio’s painting of David with the head of Goliath, and though we are looking at horror we are not seeing ugliness. The light that plays across David’s face and chest, and that slants across Goliath’s half-open eyes and mouth, transforms the scene into something beautiful. The problem with the darker offerings in Young Adult literature is that they lack this transforming and uplifting quality. They take difficult subjects and wallow in them in a gluttonous way; they show an orgiastic lack of restraint that is the mark of bad taste.

 

Young Adult book author Sherman Alexie wrote a rebuttal to my article entitled, “Why the Best Kids Books are Written in Blood.†In it, he asks how I could honestly believe that a sexually explicit Young Adult novel might traumatize a teenaged mother. “Does she believe that a YA novel about murder and rape will somehow shock a teenager whose life has been damaged by murder and rape? Does she believe a dystopian novel will frighten a kid who already lives in hell?â€

 

Well of course I don’t. But I also don’t believe that the vast majority of 12-to-18-year-olds are living in hell. And as for those who are, does it really serve them to give them more torment and sulphur in the stories they read?

 

The body of children’s literature is a little like the Library of Babel in the Jorge Luis Borges story—shelf after shelf of books, many almost gibberish, but a rare few filled with wisdom and beauty and answers to important questions. These are the books that have lasted because generation after generation has seen in them something transcendent, and has passed them on. Maria Tatar, who teaches children’s literature at Harvard, describes books like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Books, and Pinocchio as “setting minds into motion, renewing senses, and almost rewiring brains.â€

 

Or as William Wordsworth wrote: “What we have loved/others will love, and we will teach them how.â€

 

* * *

 

The good news is that just like the lousy books of the past, the lousy books of the present will blow away like chaff. The bad news is that they will leave their mark. As in so many aspects of culture, the damage they do can’t easily be measured. It is more a thing to be felt—a coarseness, an emptiness, a sorrow.

 

“Beauty is vanishing from our world because we live as if it does not matter.†That’s Roger Scruton again. But he doesn’t want us to despair. He also writes:

 

It is one mark of rational beings that they do not live only—or even at all—in the present. They have the freedom to despise the world that surrounds them and live another way. The art, literature, and music of our civilization remind them of this, and also point to the path that lies always before them: the path out of desecration towards the sacred and the sacrificial.

 

Let me close with Saint Paul the Apostle in Philippians 4:8:

 

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

And let us think about these words when we go shopping for books for our children.

 

 

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In no way shape or form is explicit incest and child rape scenes a work of literature. I am side stepping nothing. He could have wrote the book without the detail. The detail never needs written or read to understand anything. 

 

You are again sidestepping the issue. You are free to see literary merit or not in this book. I am not defending the book as I have not read it, though I have read others by the author. A number of people in this thread have read the book and can speak to its merits or lack thereof.

 

Now to our issue: Go back to your definition of pornography. Think it through. Revise. Your definition as it stands is unsupportable and nonsensical.

 

And Toni Morrison is a *she*.

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Let's take one of the most disgusting things on the planet and turn it into a beautiful work of literature. Ummmm, no. 

 

Guess we can't write about war. Or murder. Or, well, anything. Literature is more than a collection of beautiful words and phrases about beautiful things.

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I have 4 teens. I had completely unrestricted reading growing up. I read stuff like this and far worse back then.

 

I won't repeat my parents error in judgement with my own kids.

 

I'd read the book as an adult if I liked Toni Morrison, which I don't typically.

 

I would not assign that for a minor in high school. Their are plenty of works not so explicit for them at that age.

 

As my dh said when he read the blog, "If that were a movie, there's no way it wouldn't be rated R or higher. So no, our 15-17 year old isn't going to be reading that."

 

I don't think reading has to be harrowing and I don't think porn is always arousing either. To me, porn is taking sex or sexuality and perverting it. Some may be aroused by that, but others might just really want to bleach their brains.

 

I wouldn't ban the book, but I see no value to it in a high school required reading list. (And I understand CC isn't necessarily required readings, I'm taking required as in the teacher assigns it and thus the student has to read it.)

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Guess we can't write about war. Or murder. Or, well, anything. Literature is more than a collection of beautiful words and phrases about beautiful things.

Yes we can. I also would not read or let my children read any of these things that are written in explicit disgusting detail. There are many, many ways to write about things that don't involve explicit detail about illegal acts. There is one thing to talking or reading about murder without a step by step account of how it was done in minute detail to the point that I could go out and exactly copy the murder myself if I wanted to. I don't wish to have those images in mine or my children's heads. 

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It causes sexual excitement for pedophiles.

 

So is it OK for gay men to write sexually explicit material about a man and a woman because it is "not intending" to excite them personally? That should be allowed and not considered porn, but if a straight person was to write it then its porn because it was intended to cause sexual excitement?

 

Maybe he didn't "intend" for this book to do those things but IT DOES for some people. And therefore is porn

Regardless of sexually orientation, a person can write explicit material intended to be used solely for sexual arousal. However, as a complete work, The Bluest Eye was written as a work of literature. It was not written to be distributed at a XXX store. The Bluest Eye shows the impact of racism and incest (being unloved) on a African American girl growing up American society.

 

While it is set between the depression and WW2, I just listened to the teenage Indian girls at Kumon talk about how much they wish they had lighter skin. They really believe that they would be more attractive and that people would like them more if they had lighter skin. They even talked about how one of the girls had lighter skin and she was so lucky that they dreamed of having skin that color. I have even heard Persians talk about how light brown eyes are so much more attractive than dark brown. Frankly, until that conversation I had always just thought of brown eyes as brown. Hopefully, none of these girls lead a life like Pecola, but they obviously still feel like, if just this one thing about their appearance was different, then their whole life would be different.

 

Of all the things a child in a simply horribly situation could pray for, that it would occur to her to pray for blue eyes says something about American culture- something worth discussing.

Mandy

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Please someone list the benefits of a person/teenager reading in fine detail the acts of a father raping his child. Please tell me the upsides, benefits, and reasons why it would be a good idea.

 

Perhaps you don't understand the point of literature.  :confused1: 

 

The Bluest Eye is not a how-to manual or a wank mag. It is an exploration of human experience and emotion, which is often disturbing. Incest exists, whether you prefer to ignore it or confront it. If you don't want to read about it, and would never allow your children to read it, that's certainly your choice — but to imply that a work of literature, by an author who has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize, is pornography because it depicts something you find disturbing, is absurd.

 

Jackie

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Halfway through reading it, started it this morning and cant put it down. I like it more than Beloved.

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From what I've read about Common Core, it is all about the testing, so if the book in question appears on a test, then yes, the book would be required, despite claims teachers have a choice over which books they teach.

 

See, this is why people keep suggesting that those who complain about the Common Core actually read it. Not "read about it" on blogs that purposely slant and spin it.

 

There are NO required works of literature in Common Core. There are NO tests where every student in the country would be required to read a specific book or fail the test. This is not even true of AP English Literature, let alone something like the SAT or ACT.

 

Jackie

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Regardless of sexually orientation, a person can write explicit material intended to be used solely for sexual arousal. However, as a complete work, The Bluest Eye was written as a work of literature. It was not written to be distributed at a XXX store. The Bluest Eye shows the impact of racism and incest (being unloved) on a African American girl growing up American society.

 

While it is set between the depression and WW2, I just listened to the teenage Indian girls at Kumon talk about how much they wish they had lighter skin. They really believe that they would be more attractive and that people would like them more if they had lighter skin. They even talked about how one of the girls had lighter skin and she was so lucky that they dreamed of having skin that color. I have even heard Persians talk about how light brown eyes are so much more attractive than dark brown. Frankly, until that conversation I had always just thought of brown eyes as brown. Hopefully, none of these girls lead a life like Pecola, but they obviously still feel like, if just this one thing about their appearance was different, then their whole life would be different.

 

Of all the things a child in a simply horribly situation could pray for, that it would occur to her to pray for blue eyes says something about American culture- something worth discussing.

Mandy

It is not the plot that I have an issue with.  The story is worth telling, and I would have no problem with even my 14yo reading a book on the topic if done in a tasteful way.  The vulgar details of the acts are not necessary to tell the story.  My kids know such acts exist.  I know that members of my family have been abused in such ways.  I do not need to hear them describe the events in detail, even using the term "making love," as one of the quotes from the books states.  I don't want vivid images of their abuse in my mind, and I certainly don't want my uncle to voice the perverted thoughts going through his head at the time.  They are not beautiful, but sick.  

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I have not read the book, but did read a few of the explicit excerpts.  They were so repulsive that I chose not to finish reading them.  It was enough to convince me that not only do I not want my dc to ever read it, but I don't need to read it.  When I read, I mentally picture what is happening.  I don't need those images on my mind.  I wouldn't want them there if the story was about two consenting adults due to the fact that it is pornographic.  But to involve an abused child is certainly an image that I don't need in my head.   The author could have told the story without the explicit scenes and still gotten her point across, just as so many movies today could be made without the cursing and half dressed actors/actresses and be just as entertaining.  Our society seems to thrive on things that are shocking.

 

I also read that the author was wanting the reader to see the abuser's point of view.  Why would I want my dc to see child rape from the view of the rapist?  

I agree with you!!!  Why in the world would anyone want to read trash like that is beyond me! There is no reason whatsoever to write something like that unless the writer wants people to sympathize with the p*pedophile. And that is just sick. Sick, sick, sick.

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Perhaps you don't understand the point of literature.  :confused1: 

 

The Bluest Eye is not a how-to manual or a wank mag. It is an exploration of human experience and emotion, which is often disturbing. Incest exists, whether you prefer to ignore it or confront it. If you don't want to read about it, and would never allow your children to read it, that's certainly your choice — but to imply that a work of literature, by an author who has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize, is pornography because it depicts something you find disturbing, is absurd.

 

Jackie

Can we please get past the definition of porn???? kwickimom, please let it go. Porn is not the issue.

 

It doesn't have to be porn in order for it to be appalling and inappropriate for a reading list for minors (and yes, I realize that those are subjective terms). Even without having read it, I agree it's not porn by definition, but what redeeming value does the explicit depiction of child rape have? Or the explicit depiction of a cruel and violent murder, for that matter? I do get the point of literature, and I realize that sometimes disturbing subjects need to be addressed in fictional form. But why is such a level of detail necessary, or even valuable? Is it really the only - or the best - way to get the message across? 

 

Sincerely asking, as I have not seen this issue addressed directly on this thread yet.

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Can we please get past the definition of porn???? kwickimom, please let it go. Porn is not the issue.

 

It doesn't have to be porn in order for it to be appalling and inappropriate for a reading list for minors (and yes, I realize that those are subjective terms). Even without having read it, I agree it's not porn by definition, but what redeeming value does the explicit depiction of child rape have? Or the explicit depiction of a cruel and violent murder, for that matter? I do get the point of literature, and I realize that sometimes disturbing subjects need to be addressed in fictional form. But why is such a level of detail necessary, or even valuable? Is it really the only - or the best - way to get the message across? 

 

Sincerely asking, as I have not seen this issue addressed directly on this thread yet.

This has been my point.  The story can be told without the detail.  There is no benefit in it.

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My kids are young and when they are older I will still not allow this book to be read. Yes, they might read it elsewhere but I will NO WAY allow it or be a part of them ever reading it. I will do what I can to not have it read while they are still under my care. What they do when they leave is up to them but I sure hope I will raise them to do and read things that are not disgusting and explicit.

 

I DO NOT care how "good" this book or others like it are. There is never ever a reason for anyone to ever read in detail a man r*ping a little girl. That doesn't ever need understood or explained in detail. I can sympathize with anyone that said they were abused without needing the details. NO teenager needs to read it. No adult needs to read it.

How is it we do all we can to keep our children safe from predators and then turn around and put garbage like that out there for them to read?!?!? So we keep our kids safe and then let them read that so they can see what they missed??? DISTURBING!

I have an 18 yo and a 20 yo and I would not want them reading this! I'm 41 and wouldn't read this. It's beyond disgusting! 

It's not literature, having readers sympathize with a child abuser, especially "this" kind of abuse is so horribly wrong, I can't understand how anyone can defend it. 

I bet if someone wrote this about a dog the outcry would be unstoppable but writing this about a human child is ok?!?!?!

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It is not the plot that I have an issue with.  The story is worth telling, and I would have no problem with even my 14yo reading a book on the topic if done in a tasteful way.  The vulgar details of the acts are not necessary to tell the story.  My kids know such acts exist.  I know that members of my family have been abused in such ways.  I do not need to hear them describe the events in detail, even using the term "making love," as one of the quotes from the books states.  I don't want vivid images of their abuse in my mind, and I certainly don't want my uncle to voice the perverted thoughts going through his head at the time.  They are not beautiful, but sick.  

Exactly!!! This story could have been told without adding all that. That's not even porn it's portraying an evil, sick, twisted, person as someone to sympathize with. Its not love of any kind it's sick and abusive and anybody who thinks this book should be read has some serious problems! 

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I have an 18 yo and a 20 yo and I would not want them reading this! I'm 41 and wouldn't read this. It's beyond disgusting! 

It's not literature, having readers sympathize with a child abuser, especially "this" kind of abuse is so horribly wrong, I can't understand how anyone can defend it. 

I bet if someone wrote this about a dog the outcry would be unstoppable but writing this about a human child is ok?!?!?!

Thank you.  If someone wrote the story of a person who mutilated or even raped a dog in vivid detail, telling it from the abuser's point of view people would be in an uproar.

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I have an 18 yo and a 20 yo and I would not want them reading this! I'm 41 and wouldn't read this. It's beyond disgusting!

It's not literature, having readers sympathize with a child abuser, especially "this" kind of abuse is so horribly wrong, I can't understand how anyone can defend it.

I bet if someone wrote this about a dog the outcry would be unstoppable but writing this about a human child is ok?!?!?!

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I have an 18 yo and a 20 yo and I would not want them reading this! I'm 41 and wouldn't read this. It's beyond disgusting!

It's not literature, having readers sympathize with a child abuser, especially "this" kind of abuse is so horribly wrong, I can't understand how anyone can defend it.

I bet if someone wrote this about a dog the outcry would be unstoppable but writing this about a human child is ok?!?!?!

I bet you are right.

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I've never replied to a thread before, but this one has brought me out of lurkdom.  I don't believe in banning books.  I believe adults should be able to read this book as they wish.  Likewise, I believe if a 16 year wishes to read this book, that it should be available.  But to require an entire class to read this book is just wrong.  Some may be prepared for the content, but I would have found this book so disturbing as a depressed teen, it could have driven me over the edge.

 

I can't tell you how many times on this very board, I've seen people ask for book suggestions for "sensitive" kids.  Do you believe such kids only exist in homeschool land?  Don't public school children at least deserve an opt out, or an alternate title?

 

 I realize we're speaking hypothetically here and this book may or may not be required reading for the entire class.  But I hope that those of you acting as if it's "nothing they haven't seen before" will realize that even kids who are seeing this outside of class might need school to be a safe zone where things such as this are unacceptable and not tolerated.

 

 

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Exactly!!! This story could have been told without adding all that. That's not even porn it's portraying an evil, sick, twisted, person as someone to sympathize with. Its not love of any kind it's sick and abusive and anybody who thinks this book should be read has some serious problems! 

 

Well that would include the Pulitzer Prize Committee, the Nobel Prize Committee, and those who chose to award Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as many professors of literature and highly respected writers. I guess you must have some really special talents if you are able to psychoanalyze so many experts in their field, whom you've never met or even heard of.

 

I suspect that the number of people who are shocked and dismayed to discover that the entire world does not share their personal taste in reading material is at least equaled, if not surpassed, by the number of people who are shocked and dismayed that the first group of people would expect that.

 

Jackie

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It is not the plot that I have an issue with. The story is worth telling, and I would have no problem with even my 14yo reading a book on the topic if done in a tasteful way. The vulgar details of the acts are not necessary to tell the story. My kids know such acts exist. I know that members of my family have been abused in such ways. I do not need to hear them describe the events in detail, even using the term "making love," as one of the quotes from the books states. I don't want vivid images of their abuse in my mind, and I certainly don't want my uncle to voice the perverted thoughts going through his head at the time. They are not beautiful, but sick.

It is definitely sick. It is the stark reality of knowing everything that makes the request for blue eyes all the more gut wrenching.

 

Sanitize it if you like. Go through it whiteout. Perhaps, without the details or without the whole story, a person would be aroused to the same level of anger, awareness, sadness.

 

Perhaps, not. Don't read it at all. Like I said, I don't think my big boys have read it. There are plenty of books- plenty of book list books even. I just don't want anyone to think that this book is only now controversial because of the common core. This book has been on recommended reading lists for years and years and has been controversial the whole time.

 

The controversy shouldn't be if it is porn, because it isn't. (I can't come up with a good argument for representing this book as porn.) It could be debated if the explicitness of the material adds to or detracts from the themes presented. (I feel that it supports the themes presented, but i could argue the other side.) Regarding its use in public high schools, the debate could be whether or not public school high school teachers are prepared to teach those themes through this kind of material to a class of teenage students. (I could argue either side of that one, but thankfully have never had my children in that situation.)

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Perhaps you don't understand the point of literature. :confused1:

 

The Bluest Eye is not a how-to manual or a wank mag. It is an exploration of human experience and emotion, which is often disturbing. Incest exists, whether you prefer to ignore it or confront it. If you don't want to read about it, and would never allow your children to read it, that's certainly your choice — but to imply that a work of literature, by an author who has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize, is pornography because it depicts something you find disturbing, is absurd.

 

Jackie

Um yes I understand what the point of literature is thank you very much. I read literature for pleasure and education.

The story is not what I have a problem with- the rape told from the a users point of view and the minute details of his disgusting, illegal acts- that is what I have a problem with.

Pulitzer Prize or not, pornography or not, it's disgusting and did not need to be written with the details it was written with and it sure as heck doesn't need to be on any high schoolers suggested reading list.

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It's a suggestion. It's not appropriate for every community, but let's be realistic here -- there are large swaths of the country where pupils this age have been sexually active for several years.

 

Unless a parent has been exceedingly diligent in imposing limits on what their children read and view, this is not going to be anything new to a pupil of this age.

 

Personally I don't really impose limits for written material, although I would not _suggest_ this to my seven-year-old.

This is not about sex, it's about abuse!  But the writer has turned this into a sex act with a child and has made it sound ok, appealing to some people. There are even groups of people dedicated to thing's like this, promoting sex with children, and that's ok?????? Since when? Why? How is this ok with anyone??

Maybe as a woman who was abused this way as a child I see this for the evil it is. For those who think this book is "literature" what if a so-called man was thinking this way about YOUR child? Would it still be "literature" and worth reading???

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I don't see how reading the physical description of a pedophile raping a child is helpful to anyone. What is the point of the graphic physical description. Is it to portray the true horror of the act - I already know it is an act of horror, I don't need these pictures in my mind.

Is it to somehow humanise the act and somehow elicit sympathy for the pedophile - this to me is most disturbing of all. What are we trying to do - make pedophilia another lifestyle choice that we must all accept as a personal preference that can not be questioned. Please tell me she/he is not trying to normalise pedophilia. Otherwise, why should anyone have to have such a deep understanding of the acts of a pedophile, unless they are involved with their treatment.

 

I'm sorry, call me ignorant, but I just don't get it and I will not be having my kids read that. I could possibly see some benefit to a book that dealt with pedophilia and shed some kind of light on it, but the graphic descriptions completely turn me off this book.

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My standards are actually quite high. Your comment is rude.

 

I wasn't directing this at any individual person.  I did not quote you in my post.  I did not quote anyone. 

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This is not about sex, it's about abuse!  But the writer has turned this into a sex act with a child and has made it sound ok, appealing to some people. There are even groups of people dedicated to thing's like this, promoting sex with children, and that's ok?????? Since when? Why? How is this ok with anyone??

Maybe as a woman who was abused this way as a child I see this for the evil it is. For those who think this book is "literature" what if a so-called man was thinking this way about YOUR child? Would it still be "literature" and worth reading???

 

So I take it you're not a big Lolita fan either, eh?

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This is not about sex, it's about abuse!  But the writer has turned this into a sex act with a child and has made it sound ok, appealing to some people. There are even groups of people dedicated to thing's like this, promoting sex with children, and that's ok?????? Since when? Why? How is this ok with anyone??

Maybe as a woman who was abused this way as a child I see this for the evil it is. For those who think this book is "literature" what if a so-called man was thinking this way about YOUR child? Would it still be "literature" and worth reading???

Ah, yes, what if these details were written about an act that was done to your child?  Would you be able to read the words of the abuser, written in such poetic detail, making it sounds like a sensual, loving act and consider it quality literature?  

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As always, cherry picking passages from a book and then arguing about those quotes without having read the whole work shows astonishing ignorance. If you haven't read the book and don't want your kids to read it, that's fine. But reading these brief bits and arguing that the book shouldn't be read and discussed in a high school course is arguing from a position of ignorance.

 

Read the book on your own and make a decision about the message and point of the book.

Otherwise all you're doing is showing ignorance.

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Sure, it received awards from certain people.  I have found that the more the critics like a movie, the less I tend to.  If they say it isn't good, I will probably like it.

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As always, cherry picking passages from a book and then arguing about those quotes without having read the whole work shows astonishing ignorance. If you haven't read the book and don't want your kids to read it, that's fine. But reading these brief bits and arguing that the book shouldn't be read and discussed in a high school course is arguing from a position of ignorance.

 

Read the book on your own and make a decision about the message and point of the book.

Otherwise all you're doing is showing ignorance.

No, it's showing that some of us have the decency to know what is morally acceptable as human beings and what is not. 

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As always, cherry picking passages from a book and then arguing about those quotes without having read the whole work shows astonishing ignorance. If you haven't read the book and don't want your kids to read it, that's fine. But reading these brief bits and arguing that the book shouldn't be read and discussed in a high school course is arguing from a position of ignorance.

 

Read the book on your own and make a decision about the message and point of the book.

Otherwise all you're doing is showing ignorance.

 

I'm sorry, but if even just one page of a book has this kind of descriptive stuff on it, I am not going to read it.  Your comment makes no sense at all.  I think we know who is showing their ignorance here.

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I also take exception to snowflakes not reading this. I don't know anyone other than my dh who treats me like a snowflake. And I don't consider any of my kids snowflakes either. They know rape, incest and such exists. That doesn't mean they need a detailed visualization accounting of it.

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As always, cherry picking passages from a book and then arguing about those quotes without having read the whole work shows astonishing ignorance. If you haven't read the book and don't want your kids to read it, that's fine. But reading these brief bits and arguing that the book shouldn't be read and discussed in a high school course is arguing from a position of ignorance.

 

Read the book on your own and make a decision about the message and point of the book.

Otherwise all you're doing is showing ignorance.

You're right, I haven't read the book and I am most assuredly ignorant. However, does it or does it not contain a graphic description of an adult raping a child? If it does then I think we have some right to say that that is not something we want our children to read, and also something that we find hard to see any value in. The rest of the book may be powerful and enlightening but the fact of the matter is, it seems to contain a graphic description of an adult raping a child. The language used in the excerpt I've seen does not imply horror at the act. Maybe the rest of the book does, but to me that does not excuse it. Go ahead, call me ignorant, I can take it, I am merely expressing my opinion. I can think of many worthwhile books to read without having to read a graphic description of child rape.

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Well that would include the Pulitzer Prize Committee, the Nobel Prize Committee, and those who chose to award Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as many professors of literature and highly respected writers. I guess you must have some really special talents if you are able to psychoanalyze so many experts in their field, whom you've never met or even heard of.

 

I suspect that the number of people who are shocked and dismayed to discover that the entire world does not share their personal taste in reading material is at least equaled, if not surpassed, by the number of people who are shocked and dismayed that the first group of people would want that.

 

Jackie

I don't expect people to share my taste in books,movies,food, clothing, or even religion, because I know that's not possible. But writing even a sentence in a book, a line in a movie, anything at all that is in anyway positive toward someone sick enough to abuse a child is wrong. I don't care what degrees a person has, or what committee voted for what. It's wrong. Just very, very wrong. There's not one single thing about that that could ever be positive or ok or right or beneficial to anyone except a pedophile.

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No, it's showing that some of us have the decency to know what is morally acceptable as human beings and what is not.

Lol

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Sure, it received awards from certain people.  I have found that the more the critics like a movie, the less I tend to.  If they say it isn't good, I will probably like it.

 

Twilight?

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So, in all seriousness, for people who think this book is pornography, would never read it, would never allow their children to read it... what's your take on Lolita?  A book which often tops the lists of best books ever written?  The entire book is told from the point of view of the predator.  Part of what makes it so creepy and disturbing is how the protagonist totally glosses over and minimizes his predatory and violent actions... so it's kind of the opposite end of the same stick in that regard.  Are you discounting the literary merit of Lolita? 

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