// "Literature" At School
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austmuslimah
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« on: Oct 27, 2011 04:38 PM »


I have a bit of a conundrum, which I hope I can get some help/insight from.

My brother, who is 8 years younger than me, is in 11th grade in an american based international school. He is doing IB which is similar to AP/A levels.

For his advanced English class, the book "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood is being used as a comparative to George Orwell's 1984.

Now I love novels, and books/literature of all kinds, and I love English class as well, so I read everything my 3 little sibs bring home.

Here is a short excerpt about the book

Quote
The Handmaid's Tale is set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, a country formed within the borders of what was formerly the United States of America. It was founded by a racist, male chauvinist, nativist, theocratic-organized military coup as an ideologically driven response to the pervasive ecological, physical and social degradation of the country.
Beginning with a staged terrorist attack (blamed on Islamic extremist terrorists) that kills the President and most of Congress, a movement calling itself the "Sons of Jacob" launched a revolution and suspended the United States Constitution under the pretext of restoring order.
Taking advantage of electronic banking, they were quickly able to freeze the assets of all women and other "undesirables" in the country, stripping them of their rights. The new theocratic military dictatorship, styled "The Republic of Gilead", moved quickly to consolidate its power and reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical, compulsorily Christian regime of Old Testament-inspired social and religious orthodoxy among its newly created social classes


Basically the book is about the oppression and subjugation of women, especially sexually. The story shows that beneath all the new rules and regulations, a secret "opposing" society exists -- but mainly just for sexual release.

There are a few really graphic scenes in this novel, which I am totally not comfortable with having my brother read.



My question is this: Is it appropriate for me to contact the teacher/school counselor/principal and asking them to remove this book from the syllabus?


Being an American-curriculum based school I am guessing my viewpoint will be countered with arguments of censorship, openess, discovering other societies, expressing ones self, pushing boundaries, etc etc, the usual arguments saying that I am a close minded adult who is overly protective, followed up with examples of books that were considered immoral but are now part of "everyday" classes like Huckleberry Finn.

My argument is, I dont have a problem with the book, I am not trying to get it banned, I just dont see why its a MUST for minors to read it.


I am sorry my thoughts are all over the place, I am just thinking a lot and I dont want to make any rash decisions that I will regret.
akhan
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 27, 2011 06:08 PM »

I wouldn't worry too much. Being an 11th grader he probably knows more than we think. We had chapters on HIV/AIDS/Sex Ed in 10th in India and the teacher who taught the class went completely over the top, .... graphic images and everything . These days kids know pretty much everything by the time they're 10. If you think he's mature enough to filter it then it should be ok.
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 27, 2011 06:23 PM »

Salam,

You know I have mixed thoughts about this. I have read The Handmaid's Tale and yes it is explicit, but I feel like kids are inundated by sexuality from the age of 5 up. Even Disney cartoons have too much in it. I'd rather have them learn about these things in context and as concepts from a teacher in a classroom? About what is appropriate and what isn't, about what's wrong and right etc. Preferably from parents first and then teachers. It's one thing if it's just gratuitiously added to movies and the like for entertainment/ratings, and another if there's a reason for it in the plot and it's not that graphic? I can't really remember the exact scenes. Maybe you could find out how they are addressing those part of the plots?

BTW maan kids today.... you'd be shocked. Even Muslim kids. I think that a lot of parents think their kids only learn about these things once they hit 18 or something lol. They're probably 10 years too late trying to address the subject!

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« Reply #3 on: Nov 02, 2011 06:33 PM »

In literature you'll learn, read and see anything whether explicit or not. However it's a subject of knowledge not idleness. And it makes you  more open-minded and shows you how the world can look like.
I understand your concerns and my dad's like you too. And I'm kinda same as well which makes me look prudent or over sensitive in front of most of my friends. But your kids have to read and hear of such things before they become exposed it them in real life. YOu get my point of view?  Smiley

The secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is — to live dangerously!
~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~
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