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teeniebeenie6

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

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You do realize that those of us who are defending the book also find those scenes disturbing and repulsive, right? We're all on "the list of people who find it repulsive."

 

The difference is that some people can process those scenes, and see them in the larger context of the story, and recognize the book as a powerful piece of literature, while others choose to dismiss it as "trash," "filth," or "porn," based on nothing more than a few excerpted lines.

 

Jackie

Exactly what I was thinking.  Of course it is repulsive.  It's not supposed to be pleasant.

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But we do ourselves a favor by dwelling on things that are inappropriate?  I have nothing against an adult reading this if that is what they choose to do, but it is different when you are talking about a high school CHILD.

 

A CHILD in the 11th grade is a hop, skip, and a jump away from being an adult.  Plenty of 17 year old CHILDREN are already in college as well as working full or part time.

 

Reading a book and processing the information contained within is not dwelling on anything. What kind of judgmental views do you have no those whose job it is to investigate those who actually do participate in (true) child porn? Or those who have to investigate rape cases? They are certainly dwelling on things that are inappropriate, it is their job to do so.

 

When my husband was a paralegal in the Navy, he had to help investigate cases like these. Yes, those in our military also do horrendous things. It was very disturbing for him, but, miracle of miracles, he didn't turn into a pedophile or anything like that.

 

Really, if you don't want to read the book, don't. If you don't want your kids to read it while you (think) you still have control over them, then don't let them. But really, to come on here and trash a book you've never even read is just silly.

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I do think there is a big maturity difference between an 11th grader and a college student. Yes, there are some kids who start college early but for the most part, college freshmen are 18 or 19. Whereas an 11th grader could be 16 if they've got a fall birthday.

 

There is also the fact that there is only room for a limited number of books on a high school course syllabus. For each title chosen, the teacher is passing over numerous other books. I do feel that the "multicultural lit" course I took in 12th grade that contained "The Bluest Eye" as well as other recent novels was not as educational as it could've been had the teacher chosen to assign actual literary classics from non-Western cultures. It seemed to me more about wanting to "check the box" in terms of having us read authors with certain demographic characteristics than anything else.

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Dorothy Allison's Bastard out of Carolina

I read Bastard Out of Carolina when I was a young adult. I found it to be one of the most disturbing and repulsive books I have ever read. It was also one of the most profound. I chose to pursue a career as a social worker, working with abused children, in part because of the realities that Bastard Out of Carolina opened my eyes to.

 

Stone Butch Blues also contains at least one graphic scene of rape. It is one of the best books I have ever read in terms of imparting humanity to and compassion for someone who is different from you and a cultural outcast.

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But we do ourselves a favor by dwelling on things that are inappropriate? I have nothing against an adult reading this if that is what they choose to do, but it is different when you are talking about a high school CHILD.

We do ourselves a BIG favor in teaching young adults to reflect on the human experience, including ugly human experience. Morrison's novels bear witness to many things that people need to know about in order to prevent them or help people heal/survive. Her prose is poetic, her dialogue intricate and nuanced. No one who has not read her books has ANY leg to stand on in calling them "trash" or "pornography". I was far from a child when I was in high school.

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I do think there is a big maturity difference between an 11th grader and a college student. Yes, there are some kids who start college early but for the most part, college freshmen are 18 or 19. Whereas an 11th grader could be 16 if they've got a fall birthday.

 

There is also the fact that there is only room for a limited number of books on a high school course syllabus. For each title chosen, the teacher is passing over numerous other books. I do feel that the "multicultural lit" course I took in 12th grade that contained "The Bluest Eye" as well as other recent novels was not as educational as it could've been had the teacher chosen to assign actual literary classics from non-Western cultures. It seemed to me more about wanting to "check the box" in terms of having us read authors with certain demographic characteristics than anything else.

 

There isn't that large of a maturity difference between 16 and 18.

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Not one person on here who has defended this book has been able to answer the basic question I have asked which is  the vivid and vulgar descriptions of a sex act toward a child adds any value to nthe book. Reading about a victim over-coming abuse, yes. Reading about a girl dealing with racism, adversity, abuse, all of those are good qualities but they can be without these descriptions and no one on here has been able to answer that question. Do you need to read these descriptions to understand how evil the abuser was? Really? You can'tr figure that out from hearing just the victims point of view?

I don't need to read this book to know that it's wrong. I don't need to stick my hand in boiling water to know it would hurt.

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I read Bastard Out of Carolina when I was a young adult. I found it to be one of the most disturbing and repulsive books I have ever read. It was also one of the most profound. I chose to pursue a career as a social worker, working with abused children, in part because of the realities that Bastard Out of Carolina opened my eyes to.

 

Bastard out of Carolina could be autobiographical of my extended family. Bone has chilling similarities to my mother, experience and personality wise. The first time I read that book, I read without stopping. I was about 15. When I was through I thought, in a cascading wave of clarity (about my own assaults and my own deep poverty), "this is something that has happened to me, it is not me. I come from strength in the face of more than anyone should have to bear and I will not be weak." Meeting Dorothy Allison was the highlight of my high school years.

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A CHILD in the 11th grade is a hop, skip, and a jump away from being an adult.  Plenty of 17 year old CHILDREN are already in college as well as working full or part time.

 

Reading a book and processing the information contained within is not dwelling on anything. What kind of judgmental views do you have no those whose job it is to investigate those who actually do participate in (true) child porn? Or those who have to investigate rape cases? They are certainly dwelling on things that are inappropriate, it is their job to do so.

 

When my husband was a paralegal in the Navy, he had to help investigate cases like these. Yes, those in our military also do horrendous things. It was very disturbing for him, but, miracle of miracles, he didn't turn into a pedophile or anything like that.

 

Really, if you don't want to read the book, don't. If you don't want your kids to read it while you (think) you still have control over them, then don't let them. But really, to come on here and trash a book you've never even read is just silly.

An ADULT choosing a job dealing with people like this is a FAR cry from listing this book on a high school students list of books.

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So at 17 they are not ready to read about it under the supervision and tutelage of a teacher or parent, but at 18 when they cross the arbitrary line into adulthood they are prepared to fully enter adult society?  

 

In my opinion, part of being an adult is thinking about, reading and debating disturbing things.  If you don't think and read about partial birth abortions how can you be an informed voter?  If you don't debate hate crimes legislation how can you expect this to become a more just society?  If no one is willing to view horrific images of child abuse who will serve on juries to convict the offenders?

 

I think we do our children a disservice if we overly shield them from life - the good, the bad and the ugly.  When I was 16 I was dual enrolled in a college class where we read The Bluest Eye and Lolita.  My parents read the books along with me so they could help me understand and digest the material.  I hope someday that I will tackle difficult issues in the same way with my kids.  In some ways I've already started; my oldest is only 4, but we have already discussed homelessness and death and corporeal punishment.

 

Wendy

Does a person have to read vivid details of these acts to know they are wrong?

My kids know this stuff exists. My oldest daughters know I was abused. They even know about sex, abortions, etc. They don't need to read crap like what I saw in the article to know about them. That adds NO value to anything.

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Never mind. Seriously, read books before you make up your mind about them. If you can not be bothered to read something you really have no basis to form an opinion.

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Okay, what little I read on that link was enough for me to say "NO!" I would NOT hand that to my kid...not even if my kid was grown. *I* don't even want to read any more.

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Not one person on here who has defended this book has been able to answer the basic question I have asked which is  the vivid and vulgar descriptions of a sex act toward a child adds any value to nthe book. Reading about a victim over-coming abuse, yes. Reading about a girl dealing with racism, adversity, abuse, all of those are good qualities but they can be without these descriptions and no one on here has been able to answer that question. Do you need to read these descriptions to understand how evil the abuser was? Really? You can'tr figure that out from hearing just the victims point of view?

I don't need to read this book to know that it's wrong. I don't need to stick my hand in boiling water to know it would hurt.

 

Explicit descriptions may or may not "add value" to the book, but that's the choice the author made in telling this story. Art is weird, man. It's about conveying experiences and emotions. It's not quite a consumer product like a Chevy or a microwave, where power steering or the popcorn button make it that much more "valuable" in economic terms.

 

The "added value" of the explicit stuff? It might not be added value for the reader (consumer?) but it was valuable to Toni Morrison, and that's why it's there.

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Not one person on here who has defended this book has been able to answer the basic question I have asked which is  the vivid and vulgar descriptions of a sex act toward a child adds any value to nthe book. Reading about a victim over-coming abuse, yes. Reading about a girl dealing with racism, adversity, abuse, all of those are good qualities but they can be without these descriptions and no one on here has been able to answer that question. Do you need to read these descriptions to understand how evil the abuser was? Really? You can'tr figure that out from hearing just the victims point of view?

I don't need to read this book to know that it's wrong. I don't need to stick my hand in boiling water to know it would hurt.

 

I think I did.  Sorry it wasn't the answer you wanted to hear.

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I only got through the first 2 pages of responses, but I just have to wonder to myself...

Why do people get so up in arms about this?  I mean, seriously, it's a book.  

I get the up in arms-ness with banning a book.  We don't like banning books or censorship.  Got it.

I don't see why some people can't just be like, 'hey, wow, I don't really think I'd want my kid to read that' and not be vilified for it.  Why is that so terribe?  :001_huh:

Same thing the other way - why are some people so upset just because other people are ok with their kids reading it?

I don't get all the hoopla.  IMO, there are SO many books that are great books to be read, and I don't know if this one really makes that list of 'must-reads'.  I doubt that it is quite as bad as the blog post (article?  whatever) made it sound, considering that they were specific, handpicked parts of the story that were explicit.  I'm assuming there is more to the book than page after page of that. 

So I'm kind of on the fence.  I guess I really don't see why there are so many polar opposites about it... ??

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Not one person on here who has defended this book has been able to answer the basic question I have asked which is  the vivid and vulgar descriptions of a sex act toward a child adds any value to nthe book. Reading about a victim over-coming abuse, yes. Reading about a girl dealing with racism, adversity, abuse, all of those are good qualities but they can be without these descriptions and no one on here has been able to answer that question. Do you need to read these descriptions to understand how evil the abuser was? Really? You can'tr figure that out from hearing just the victims point of view?

I don't need to read this book to know that it's wrong. I don't need to stick my hand in boiling water to know it would hurt.

 

"He pulled the axe quite out, swung it with both arms, scarcely conscious of himself, and almost without effort, almost mechanically, brought the blunt side down on her head....Then he dealt her another and another blow with the blunt side and on the same spot. The blood gushed as from an overturned glass, the body fell back. He stepped back, let it fall, and at once bent over her face; she was dead. Her eyes seemed to be starting out of their sockets, the brow and the whole face were drawn and contorted convulsively....Bending down and examining her again more closely, he saw clearly that the skull was broken and even battered in on one side. He was about to feel it with his finger, but drew back his hand and indeed it was evident without that. Meanwhile there was a perfect pool of blood."

 

Does this novel gain any value from the vivid and brutal descriptions of axe-murder? Or from the third-person omniscient narration that gives us the perspective of the murderer, a window into his thoughts?

 

To answer that question, I have to ask myself, would I have the same visceral response of horror and disgust if the author had merely said something like, "He used the axe on her and then she was dead?" Would that convey the depravity of the murderer in quite the same light?

 

It's literature. It's art. The author chose to draw the reader in to the scene, to give the nuances that make the scene come to life. Those horrible details evoke emotion in a way that glossing over the "bad stuff" wouldn't.

 

I don't like the excerpts from The Bluest Eye. I sat down to read the book when I was 17 (it was the selection for the 12th-grade book club I was in); I wasn't able to get through it and though I don't remember, these scenes may have been why. (Edit: I suspect that I was either too immature or unprepared for them.) But I can't judge the value of the work by the excerpts. No work is experienced via excerpts. Can you truly judge Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment," a 500-page classic novel, by the lines I copied out above?

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Not one person on here who has defended this book has been able to answer the basic question I have asked which is  the vivid and vulgar descriptions of a sex act toward a child adds any value to nthe book. Reading about a victim over-coming abuse, yes. Reading about a girl dealing with racism, adversity, abuse, all of those are good qualities but they can be without these descriptions and no one on here has been able to answer that question. Do you need to read these descriptions to understand how evil the abuser was? Really? You can'tr figure that out from hearing just the victims point of view?

I don't need to read this book to know that it's wrong. I don't need to stick my hand in boiling water to know it would hurt.

 

The reason no one is "answering your question" is because you are basically demanding that someone explain to you the difference between a work of art and a newspaper article.

 

If you don't already understand the difference, then there's really not much anyone can say in a few lines on a homeschooling forum that will make much sense to you.

 

Jackie

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Not one person on here who has defended this book has been able to answer the basic question I have asked which is the vivid and vulgar descriptions of a sex act toward a child adds any value to nthe book.

Many people have answered you. You are just dismissing their answers because they haven't convinced you personally.

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Ooh, the spambot liked my post.

 

I think we might be at that point in the discussion where people just aren't going to see the other side.  Those of us who think books with dark themes and graphic descriptions can have a place on upper level reading lists and those who don't.  Of course, the discussion could always veer into Common Core conspiracy theorizing, I suppose.

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There isn't that large of a maturity difference between 16 and 18.

In your opinion. Most people, however, would recognize that children do a LOT of growing up during those two years, which is why our society does not allow 16 y.o.'s to marry, enlist in the military, set up their own households, etc. without special permission.

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Coming in late to this conversation, though I've read a similiar conversation on Facebook.    Here's my thoughts.

 

1.  The book has been on the "accepted reading book list" for years.  Now that people are bantering around Common Core, NOW we are fighting about that one book?  Seems a bit late in the game, doesn't it?  

 

2.  I get it, I get it as a mother, I don't want or see the need for my son to read such a book.  My DS15 goes to public school and this year he's a sophomore taking Honors English II which focuses on American Lit.   Of the four books they will read (and I beyond happy they will actually read FOUR books this year...last year they read one :(.     they are reading The Color Purple.  I've seen the movie, way back when it first came out...don't remember much other than poor "colored" people (per terms in the book, not my word!), a rape scene, and Oprah Winfrey.   I went ahead and read the book this weekend, and I was shocked!! The very first page talks about the rape, and graphic "slang" terms for body parts.   And that continues for the next few pages, and then sprinkled through out more descriptions of the rape, talk of other sexual acts, including lesbian etc.    My mouth was on the floor thinking that my child would be reading this.   I know my 15 year old and he's like most 15 year olds...he's going to get nothing out of those graphic descriptions and the underlying courage of the story, other than a bit of shock value, perhaps giggling and maybe new "slang" words they'll use in their peer group (not condoning, only being realistic on how teen boys tend to talk amongst themselves).    Frankly, I dont' get the value of having teenagers read a book of this nature, I don't see the real educational value in it.  I don't argue that it's a great book, very interesting read and probably very like life in a certain era of our history.  As an adult, I can appreciate the story line, feel the sadness, understand the pain, hope for the best, cry tears of joy for the happiness...a full range of emotions because, while the words are shocking, I can move past that.   It's a book for grown-ups.   I can't see most teenagers appreciating the magnitude, and nuances intertwined in the story line...and thus I couldn't condone it being an acceptable book for high school students.   I think the same of the book in question on this forum.   It may just be an amazing book, but it's not appropriate for teenagers to read.   What is truly sad is that many parents of public school students won't even KNOW what their children are reading.

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In 40+ years I am quite certain no (otherwise non-predatory) person has read this book and walked away thinking Cholly was a great guy or wanting to be like Cholly or copy his crimes. How a person can become what he became is an important question. A sanitized version of what he did (more than once) would not convey the same meaning and depth or reflect the true to life tragedy of what happens to Pecola at the hands of her parents and her community.

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When "The Color Purple" was part of a high school lit course I took, no one was giggling or learning new slang. It was well taught and we had several interesting and valuable discussions about it. I had a truly remarkable English teacher for all four years in high school. A lit class with her would generally have 1-2 book required per month, not per year. I think we give high schoolers too little credit/set the bar too low. If I had a teenager who giggled at that book, well, I'd be having more than a few difficult conversations with him or her. Sexual violence isn't humorous. Laughing at what happens in that book is depravity.

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You do realize that those of us who are defending the book also find those scenes disturbing and repulsive, right? We're all on "the list of people who find it repulsive."

 

The difference is that some people can process those scenes, and see them in the larger context of the story, and recognize the book as a powerful piece of literature, while others choose to dismiss it as "trash," "filth," or "porn," based on nothing more than a few excerpted lines.

 

Jackie

 

Yes, I do understand that; however, I do not define acts of violence and perversion against children that we could all describe in detail if we thought long enough about it as "art." I think someone gave an explanation upthread as to why this is necessary for the book as: "art is strange, man." That pretty much sums up succinctly the explanations you all have given as to why these passages are necessary to tell a good story. Sorry, that's not convincing.

 

 

When "The Color Purple" was part of a high school lot course I took, no one was giggling or learning new slang. It was well taught and we had several interesting and valuable discussions about it. I had a truly remarkable English teacher for all four years in high school. A lit class would generally have 1-2 book required per month, not per year. I think we give high schoolers too little credit/set the bar too low. If I had a teenager who giggled at that book, well, I'd be having more than a few difficult conversations with him or her. Sexual violence isn't humorous. Laughing at what happens in that book is depravity.

 

This is a more convincing explanation. Even still, I cannot stand to purposefully and for no reason (I'm not on a jury, I'm not needing to prosecute anyone) put graphic and detailed images like that in my head. I stumbled across passages in other books, and I still have not forgotten them and they pop up randomly in my head. It's just way too disturbing for me to want to purposefully dwell on specifics like that. I don't see a need for it, I don't think an immature brain would need to do that. I think we can all agree that no matter how mature a 16 or 17 year old seems, their brains and thinking processes are not fully mature yet.

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This is something I just don't get. When my kids are under my roof is exactly when I'd want them to be exposed to good quality material that deals with the issues in that book. Because then I'm right there for them to talk to. While they live with me I can help them process and consider potentially disturbing but important subjects.

 

I just don't get people wanting their children to "see" a child rape by reading it in explicit detail in a book. We try to keep our children from getting raped, only to have them read about it in detail so that there is a picture of it in their minds??? I will discuss with them how child rape is disgusting but by no means do I need to go through it detail by disgusting detail.   I would NEVER EVER intentionally put that stuff through another human's mind. 

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I just don't get people wanting their children to "see" a child rape by reading it in explicit detail in a book. We try to keep our children from getting raped, only to have them read about it in detail so that there is a picture of it in their minds??? I will discuss with them how child rape is disgusting but by no means do I need to go through it detail by disgusting detail.   I would NEVER EVER intentionally put that stuff through another human's mind. 

 

This just doesn't make sense.  Do you expect your child to never read a newspaper?  There are LOTS of things in a newspaper that we can read about and I hope that nobody in my family ever has to experience.  Will your children read books about war, or the Holocaust, or Sadako and the 1000 Cranes?  There are many, many difficult subjects that I expect my children will eventually read about.  By reading about them and discussing them, we can all better understand how to prevent future atrocities.

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It's just way too disturbing for me to want to purposefully dwell on specifics like that. I don't see a need for it, I don't think an immature brain would need to do that. I think we can all agree that no matter how mature a 16 or 17 year old seems, their brains and thinking processes are not fully mature yet.

Was I fully mature at 16? Hells no. How exactly though do people mature? Through examining life and things that are not all sunshine and roses. I can attest that reading hard books is a nicer way to grow up than experiencing some of these hard situations (which a large number of adolescents have experienced). I was certainly not too immature at 14-17 (high school) to read authors like Morrison, Hurston, Walker and Allison. Are there 14-17 year old who are too immature? Sure. But there are plenty who are able to learn valuable lessons from difficult, adult level literature. I would personally consider a 16-17 year old not up to the task to be a bit behind where a college bound student should be reading level/maturity wise.

 

Ignorance of literature should not be conflated with innocence.

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How exactly though do people mature? Through examining life and things that are not all sunshine and roses.

 

I totally agree. I just think graphic descriptions of romanticized child rape is WAY over the "necessary to mature and become a feeling and thinking, sympathetic human being" line.

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Was I fully mature at 16? Hells no. How exactly though do people mature? Through examining life and things that are not all sunshine and roses. I can attest that reading hard books is a nicer way to grow up than experiencing some of these hard situations (which a large number of adolescents have experienced). I was certainly not too immature at 14-17 (high school) to read authors like Morrison, Hurston, Walker and Allison. Are there 14-17 year old who are too immature? Sure. But there are plenty who are able to learn valuable lessons from difficult, adult level literature. I would personally consider a 16-17 year old not up to the task to be a bit behind where a college bound student should be reading level/maturity wise.

 

Ignorance of literature should not be conflated with innocence.

I think it works the other way around. Adults who have more life experience will get more out of reading books with "mature" themes than high school juniors will. I haven't gone back and re-read the novels assigned to me in 12th grade, but I know that if I did, I'd be able to read them on a much deeper level.

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I totally agree. I just think graphic descriptions of romanticized child rape is WAY over the "necessary to mature and become a feeling and thinking, sympathetic human being" line.

Toni Morrison is NOT romanticizing child rape. I can't think of anything in her books she is romanticizing. Occasionally a character is romanticizing or idealizing something. Like having blue eyes maybe, ;). But romanticizing rape? No way, no how.

 

I think it works the other way around. Adults who have more life experience will get more out of reading books with "mature" themes than high school juniors will. I haven't gone back and re-read the novels assigned to me in 12th grade, but I know that if I did, I'd be able to read them on a much deeper level.

I don't disagree. I recently reread 100 years of solitude. Certainly got more out of it than I did at age 16. The same is true for many books I have reread. Conversely, there are many books I found meaningful and valuable before which later did not hold my attention or interest and where I find less value than I previously did. That's true of most reading- you will get different things out of it at different stages in life.

 

But will a thoughtful, well educated 16-17 year old get nothing at all of value from it? I don't think so. I know more than a few who did/do get meaning from very challenging works of fiction.

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This just doesn't make sense.  Do you expect your child to never read a newspaper?  There are LOTS of things in a newspaper that we can read about and I hope that nobody in my family ever has to experience.  Will your children read books about war, or the Holocaust, or Sadako and the 1000 Cranes?  There are many, many difficult subjects that I expect my children will eventually read about.  By reading about them and discussing them, we can all better understand how to prevent future atrocities.

 

Reading about something, and reading about something in intense detail are a little different. Knowing the disgusting nature and having an understanding of what it is about is different than reading or hearing every little tiny detail of what is happening.

I got brave today, or perhaps somewhat foolish. I read the book. I went onto my kindle and got it wanting to read it while I had some quiet time this evening. Yes this books shows some things that need to be looked at, problems in our society that need to be seen. Over all I found it well written. I like that she came at it from numerous points, allowing people to see the back story and how these problems arise not from just one thing, but from numerous different things, from everyone around it. Problems from their past that were left undealt with and after festering contribute to perpetuating the abusive cycle. My problem is that she went much farther than that. Writing about s*x between a husband and wife in the extremely detailed and explicit words what more than I would recommend for any teenager. Is it necessary to talk about the sounds, movements, and sensations of the action for people to know exactly what is happening. I found it rather crude and rough and I am not overly sensitive when it comes to talking about s*x. These explicit 'scenes' are relatively frequent and somewhat unnecessary for a reader to understand what was happening in the book. They seem to be in there for the pleasure of talking about s*x, which I know seems to be rather popular, but not really something I would put on a recommended reading list for teenagers (I wouldn't ban it either, but I've said that in past posts).

 

I keep reading in the replies on here how sometimes details are needed for understanding. What strikes me as odd is that this much detail wasn't even needed when I had to talk to the police or to CPS. Yes detail, but not nearly like this. This much detail leaves a horrified fascination. I see no benefit in my kids hearing that. When they are older they will hear my story, but wording in the way this book worded it, makes it into another s*x act, not the degrading struggle for power that it is.

 

People have said on here, that those apposed to the book are apposed to something they won't even read, and have seemed to view that position as a show of ignorance. I've read the book, and after throwing up, I am more strongly apposed to it, despite the good writing in between all the s*x. I am not appalled that someone wrote it, or that someone would read it (after all I have just read it), I am somewhat appalled that it would be something that an adult would hand to a child and expect them to read it. On a recommended list perhaps, because then a person can pick and choose what they can handle, but in a classroom situation, it would be something that would have me well beyond just upset at the school.

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Not one person on here who has defended this book has been able to answer the basic question I have asked which is the vivid and vulgar descriptions of a sex act toward a child adds any value to nthe book. Reading about a victim over-coming abuse, yes. Reading about a girl dealing with racism, adversity, abuse, all of those are good qualities but they can be without these descriptions and no one on here has been able to answer that question. Do you need to read these descriptions to understand how evil the abuser was? Really? You can'tr figure that out from hearing just the victims point of view?

I don't need to read this book to know that it's wrong. I don't need to stick my hand in boiling water to know it would hurt.

I answered this question twice on page 2. Once by explaining that the themes presented say something about American society- things worth discussing- and by saying that, yes, these descriptions are sick but that I would argue that they support the themes presented. I suggested using white out and pointed out that perhaps without these passages the reader would still arrive at the same emotional place. I don't think so and obviously and more importantly Toni Morrison didn't think so.

 

Don't read it. There are other books out there. Refuse to let your children read anything you find remotely uncomfortable. Maybe this behavior will so pique their interest that they will read them all behind your back or maybe they will read nothing that you disapprove of until they are in college. It really doesn't matter to me. Just don't try to convince me that I need to ban books from my home.

 

As far as the common core reading lists, all I can do is reiterate that this particular book has been on reading lists for a long, long time and has always been controversial. As few books as they read and with others to choose from, it is going to be one brave teacher who will decide to schedule this one. And, in the end not something that those of us who homeschool will be dealing with.

 

HTH-

Mandy

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People have said on here, that those apposed to the book are apposed to something they won't even read, and have seemed to view that position as a show of ignorance. I've read the book, and after throwing up, I am more strongly apposed to it, despite the good writing in between all the s*x.

First off, while we disagree on the book I think you did an awesome thing to read it. Secondly, many people who have condemned this book on this thread (using words such as "pornography" to describe it) have in fact made it plain they have not/will not read the book and have only read excerpts and/or other people's opinions about it. At least one person made it clear they don't even know who Toni Morrison is (ie a WOMAN). That is ignorance, plain and simple. I think someone can certainly read this book and be opposed to it being classroom material for a teenager. They can read this book or any other by her and just not like it or can even think that Morrison's writing leaves them cold. I, for example, really disliked large parts of Beloved/found it tedious at times. The Bluest Eye is far from my favorite book, or even my favorite Morrison book. I read it once (well, read it several times in a short time span for a class- I usually reread things as I was working on my paper/assignments. I like to read once without pausing for notes and the reread it while making notes/jotting reactions and summarizing characters) and will likely never ever read it again. It's not one of the Toni Morrison books I still keep/own. Certainly not everyone will like or find meaning in any given book. I just think that pronouncing something pornographic or worthless without actually making a good attempt to read it is short sighted and not in keeping with the notion of a well trained mind/high bar for education. While you are not in that category, clearly there are those on this thread who are.

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I don't even know what to respond to on this thread.

 

It truly surprises me to see how out of touch some adults are. I'm sorry, but if you truly think the majority of 17 year olds are oblivious to rape, incest, and general sex, you're a bit deluded. And lesbianism? I'm not even going to start on that.

 

I watched SVU on tv starting when I was about 12. That's about rape, often times explicitly described and even depicted, yet I don't think most of you would consider that pornography.

 

I suppose I just find it very strange how the age of consent in many states is 17, some 16, and in the rest 18, yet people are horrified at the idea of a teenager reading about it first. Maybe I just can't understand it from a mothers perspective but I think I would rather my child be educated about these things before they go off to college and so on. By around that age your kids should be mature enough to handle such subjects.

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This is nothing new.  From the very beginning of this thread, The Color Purple kept popping into my head, yet this is the first time I've seen any complaints about that book on here.   I read it in high school and I graduated in 1987.

 

The Handmaid's Tale is one that popped repeatedly on a recent thread as a favorite, yet I found it extremely disturbing.

 

I found these, and the Morrison books, disturbing but I wouldn't stop a 17 year old from reading them.  I may give some warnings of what to expect but I wouldn't censor.  My oldest read Water for Elephants, which had some disturbing scenes when she was 15 or 16.  

 

Where do we draw the line?   A lot of books have things someone would find disturbing.  At what point do we stop making these decisions for our "children"?

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  :scared: That is filthy trash! I feel like I need to scrub my eyeballs just from skimming the first quote in the posted blog! How much lower can our society possibly go?

 

And for those who will say you can't judge something you won't read - I don't need to wallow in excrement to know that it will get me dirty and stinky if I do!

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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. 

 

The Crucible.... torture including, as far as I remember, pressing to death.

 

L

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I would suggest that those who have read (or skimmed) only what was on the blog of the opening post and based their opinion of The Bluest Eye solely on that AND who are sincerely interested in why the book is considered an important work of literature despite its graphic content look up and read one (or several) of the many literary critiques of the book that are available. You needn't change your mind about whether the book is appropriate for 11th graders, but at least then you would have the proper historical, cultural, and literary contexts at your disposal if you choose to discuss the book.

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Ok so let me get this straight...This is a book about a father who rapes his daughter? It has very graphic storytelling about it? Correct me if I am wrong. No, I don't call it porn. I call it a nightmare in the making and disgusting though. Let me understand that people blame video games and horror movies on the why kids are violent but this is OK? I am gonna steal from my daughter for a minute and say it, WAIT,WHAT?? There is no reason for any child to read this I would never read this. If I need to learn about pedophilia I can turn on the news. I wonder if all the young girls who were raped by their fathers enjoy this "literature". I don't do porn in any form but if I did I better get some feel good emotions and if anyone gets that from this they need to seek help ASAP.  

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This is a book about a father who rapes his daughter? 

 

No. This book includes a daughter being raped by her father, but that is not what the book is about, as has been explained here multiple times.

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This just doesn't make sense.  Do you expect your child to never read a newspaper?  There are LOTS of things in a newspaper that we can read about and I hope that nobody in my family ever has to experience.  Will your children read books about war, or the Holocaust, or Sadako and the 1000 Cranes?  There are many, many difficult subjects that I expect my children will eventually read about.  By reading about them and discussing them, we can all better understand how to prevent future atrocities.

NO newspaper would ever put out details of a child rape as told by the abuser, Why does that not make sense to you?

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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?

Yes, I'm with you. I'm now forever stuck with the image of a girl eating ice cream while some man gets his rocks off with her.

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Reading is a very different beast to viewing. I've got no problem with my 14 year old reading the Game of Thrones books, but there's no way I'd let her lay eyes on the TV series.

 

I trust my kids to self-censor their reading, meaning that if they find a book too emotionally difficult or confronting, they generally put it aside for six months or so.

 

My 15 yr old has read much of Toni Morrison. She finds her books well-written and thought provoking but Morrison isn't one of her favourite authors. She's fine :)

 

How old are kids in 11th grade ? 16 ? 17 ?

Not for everybody. People like me who "see" a movie when they read don't need to bother with an actual video. We see it in our head as we read. There was very little difference in reading those excerpts and watching porn. Just that one is on a biological "screen" and one is on an electronic.

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I answered this question twice on page 2. Once by explaining that the themes presented say something about American society- things worth discussing- and by saying that, yes, these descriptions are sick but that I would argue that they support the themes presented. I suggested using white out and pointed out that perhaps without these passages the reader would still arrive at the same emotional place. I don't think so and obviously and more importantly Toni Morrison didn't think so.

 

Don't read it. There are other books out there. Refuse to let your children read anything you find remotely uncomfortable. Maybe this behavior will so pique their interest that they will read them all behind your back or maybe they will read nothing that you disapprove of until they are in college. It really doesn't matter to me. Just don't try to convince me that I need to ban books from my home.

 

As far as the common core reading lists, all I can do is reiterate that this particular book has been on reading lists for a long, long time and has always been controversial. As few books as they read and with others to choose from, it is going to be one brave teacher who will decide to schedule this one. And, in the end not something that those of us who homeschool will be dealing with.

 

HTH-

Mandy

 

To the bolded-

Really?? No one ever said not to let kids read things remotely uncomfortable. This is UTTERLY disgusting stuff we are talking about. Do you think detailed stories of child rape are just "remotely uncomfortable??  I am horrified and appalled by child rape. The excerpts make me want to puke and so I can't imagine the other things in that book. And I will hope to God that child rape never ever "piques their interest."

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At 16, I was living alone and working, in a country I didn't grow up in. In the years before that, I was "sexually abused" my my mother's partner. Yes, "sexual abuse" is a euphemism, but anything more graphic is apparently porn. Like the countless other sexual abuse survivors, I did not get any choice about being exposed to "this kind of thing", and didn't need it in my mind (or my body) either. 

 

The fact that many people are in deep denial about "this kind of thing" (including my mother, at the time), doesn't help victims. I haven't read this book, but now I am going to. I have read books with similar topics and found them very helpful to the healing process. People understanding victims is also conductive to the healing process, and understanding perpetrators can help people from becoming victims in the first place.

 

No one is in denial! I know it happens WAY too much and I do not see how making people read the details helps anyone.

 

Do you really think that it would help someone that was not raped, to read in detail about how its done to a kid? Do you as a victim want someone to live through that in their head that doesn't have to??

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you know, since joining this forum, I have begun to see myself as very literature illiterate. after reading this thread, I am proven correct and not so sure I regret it. I haven't read, or even heard of most of the books mentioned here. I was raised in a sheltered home and can tell you for sure that in 11th grade these were not things I thought about, dealt with, or even probably knew about. being required to read this, or any other of the mentioned, books would have been extremely uncomfortable for me and I probably could not have done it. I have no desire to read it now, as a mature adult who, blessedly, has not experienced any of these horrible things but can still react sympathetically when hearing about them. it has not impaired my functionality in life at all to not have been exposed at a young age. I do not hide things from my children. when they ask questions I answer them to the best of my ability on an age appropriate level. I would not want my high schooler to read this, even with just having read the excerpts. that is not what I want to fill their minds with. I am not condemning anyone who does, but it is not the right choice for my family.

 

Philippians 4:8

New International Version (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.

 

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