Novel Life Lessons

In English class, students have the opportunity to read many diverse, complex novels. These novels deal with many different situations, ranging from wealth to governments to emotional situations. Having high school students read novels that contain these concepts may seem over the top. However, being in high school, and a teenager, we each have to deal with different things that may seem too ‘adult’. Some parents may wish to withhold some of this information, claiming teenagers are too young to be exposed to it, but frankly in life these situations pop up, no matter how much a parent tries to protect their child. The parents of students who attend Highland Park ISD have caused the school board to suspend certain novels, claiming their 10th graders are not mature enough to handle these situations. Although some parents may feel that way, teenagers should be exposed to these topics, especially because it would be in a controlled environment with a teacher present.

In life people are exposed to touché subjects constantly. Whether it be on TV, school, or just being around the general public. And no matter how much a parent may try, they cannot protect their children from everything. Even if somehow they manage to, that child will eventually turn into an adult, and then there is nothing the parents can do. Although it may come from good intentions, it is naïve to assume a parent can protect their child from everything. In the case of the Highland Park ISD, banning novels because they have ‘mature’ content is ridiculous. Students should be exposed to topics involving adult language, or sexual situations, like rape, since those topics were not written about because the author was bored, but because those topics all play a part in the novels theme, and because those things happen in real life. With growing up comes the realization that life is not perfect, nor will it ever be, but learning that in a classroom from an award-winning novel is a much better option than having something like that just thrown on a person. And these novels don’t center around those scenes, but about what the characters can gain and then grow from. For example, in 10th grade many people read 1984, written by George Orwell, and while that novel does contain graphic situations, that is not what it is about. 1984, one of my personal favorites from school, is a remarkable novel, that delves into many different topics, including freedom, reality, and truth. It expands the way people think, and helps them become more aware of the world around them, and without a bit of adultness, the reader may not fully comprehend what Orwell is trying to say. Banning books because the parents think it may be too graphic is naïve because the parent cannot protect the child forever, and it would be better for them to learn about things that happen in life in a classroom with a teacher, rather than TV or somewhere else.

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