I'm glad that Jane
reminded me about this.....
I opened up The Tennessean
on Saturday to see that some anonymous parent
in Williamson County wants to ban To Kill A Mockingbird
from being read as part of the eighth-grade curriculum. I've said it before and I'll say it again--some group standing up and telling me what I can or cannot read, see, hear or experience (in terms of artistic expression) really makes me see red.
First of all, if you're that upset and offended by the book, then step up and lend your name to the cause. This whole anonymous thing is a lot of crap and shows you are gutless. If you are this upset about it, take a stand. Allow for a debate of ideas or allow the other side to respond to you, to debate you, to maybe make arguments that might make you change your mind or see why some people think reading this book is a good idea. But to not stand up and allow a free discourse but to instead just drop a bomb and then run away...I have no respect for that.
Second of all, has the person actually sat down and read the book?!? OK, so there are some bad words in there and adult themes. But if you seriously get to eighth grade and haven't heard those words and confronted those themes, you're way too sheltered. And why is it that people can't understand that just because a word is used to establish a time-frame or setting for a book that it doesn't make it OK for that word to be used. You know, reading Huckleberry Finn, I never felt that after I was done that cause Mark Twain used a certain word that I could go around and use it. But I understood why it was used and how it was part of the story Twain was telling and the point he was trying to make. Because I understood the context.
I think sometimes we get so obsessed with the minute details that we miss the context. The context of how those words and themes are used in To Kill A Mockingbird
is what's important. I challenge this anonymous person to read the book with an open mind...
It's a classic for a reason. And I think the children of Williamson County deserve a chance to read it and discover it for themselves. And to form their own opinions on it--not just be told by someone what is right and acceptable. Let them make up their own minds. They may not like the book, but let's make it their choice..not ours.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/30/2006 04:33:00 PM