Friday, December 12, 2008
The book is actually about animal rights and Black Beauty is a horse. It was written in 1877 by Anna Sewell.
It's funny, it's nonsensical and it's the quintessential girlhood story- even though a lot of men love it, too.
Keeping kids from reading Anne Frank isn't going to keep them from talking about menstruating, nor will it stop sexual feelings or occasional anger toward their parents.
Teens do that anyway. What's healthy is to give them a book that shows that everyone goes through such things- even when they are being persecuted.
One parent of Arab ancestry once objected to the book because it portrays a Jewish girl (so now, we have to take all the Jews out of the books? Should Arab children not read about Einstein or Isaac Asimov, either?)
In 1983, four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee called for the ban of the Diary of Anne Frank because it's a real 'downer' .
I can see how a book about a teenaged girl and her family having to hide from the Nazis during the Holocaust might be called a "downer". I fail to see why the historical account of true events should be manipulated to produce a sunny, happy lie.
People who think this are part of the reason why the Holocaust happened: they turn a blind eye to prejudice, ignoring the suffering of others. Then, they ban the books that tell the story: books like this one and The Grapes of Wrath and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.To teach a human being that blindness is a virtue is unforgivable, but that's what the banning of books does: it lets you believe that that the only thoughts you ever need to entertain are the ones that confirm your own view of the world.
Eventually, every truffula tree is gone and the air is filled with smoke, so the Lorax and all the animals leave. I still read this book for pleasure. I read it at least once a week and I love sharing it with children I know.
The foresting industry should have been able to use this book to their advantage- if they don't destroy all the trees, if they don't put junk in the water, if they aren't disrupting the eco-system, then this book should never have been a threat to them. This book criticizes these actions.
While others continue to insist that this book is communist, a child would read in it the idea that people should be responsible for the environment.
So does the Bible...oh, wait, book Nazis got that one, too. (see The Bible)
In the book, Christian Bibles are burned, too. This is another reason why the books have been banned, even though this book is clearly and explicitly against the burning of books, censors said that the book "advocates" the burning of Bibles. If you've read the book, you know how ridiculous that is.
At West Marion High School in Foxworthy, Mississippi, the book was challenged for using the word "God damn", although the challenge didn't come about until a month after the assignment was given, when the final report was due.
The Color Purple is an epistolary novel told from the point of view of a woman named Celie. Set in early 20th century Georgia, the story begins with a violent rape and Celie's subsequent marriage to an abusive husband, referred to through-out the novel as "Mr.___". Celie is separated from her beloved sister Nettie early in the novel and never loses hope that she will see her again. She lives as a silent drudge, cleaning Mr. ____'s house, caring for his children and taking his beatings, until one day, she meets the sassy rebellious blues singer known as Shug Avery.
The language of the novel is raw, but changes as the heroine herself changes. Characters in the Color Purple don't always say a word like "shit" just to be profane, but because they are uneducated and have so few words.
The book has also been targeted by black activists who claim that the book presents a negative image of black men.
Personally, I love this story. I love it as a novel and a film. I am dying to see the play. What I admire most about it is the way it draws a line between the many forms of abuse that human beings can suffer- child abuse, rape, imperialism, racism- linking them together. It's all chained to the same violent act that destroys Celie in the beginning.
I do not care for the spirituality in this novel because I think it's bullshit. But since that's how I feel about most 'spiritual' things, I can overlook it.
The 1984 ban is interesting in it's choice of words, since its clear that the Oakland B.O.E wanted to weed out 'troubling' ideas, like lesbianism and unorthodox religious views. But ideas should not be troubling to you simply because they are in opposition to your own. And if those ideas (which are so prevalent in society) are wrong, why is it a bad idea to explore them as part of an education?
As for the image of black men, I get tired of the idea that all black people are responsible for any single depiction of a black person. Besides, there are male characters in the story who have great qualities. Somehow, critics of the novel always overlook these characters.
I believe that literature is conflict. It is meant to disturb your way of thinking. A good book will make you cry, laugh, cringe, shiver- anything but stand still. It is not there for you to approve or disapprove of- it's there for you to consider. You may or may not agree with the author's intended meaning. That's the whole point of reading.