Should my daughter not read any of these books?


#1

My daughter will be reading these books in school this year. My wife and I are supposed to approve this list:

Julius Ceasar
The Taming Game of the Shrew
A Separate Peace
Anthem
As I Lay Dying
Lord of the Flies
To Kill a Mockingbird
Inherit the Wind

It’s for Honors English 10
Does anyone have a problem with any of these books?

Thanks


#2

Personally, the only objection I have is Anthem, because I hear large parts of it are tracts that tend towards things not exactly endorsed by the Church. If your daughter’s well-formed, though, it will probably do nothing to here. Some would object to Inherit the Wind, but I find it less attacking religion than attacking the folks who use it for more, ahem, worldly purposes.


#3

Did you mean the Taming of the Shrew instead of the Taming Game of the Shrew?


#4

Some of the parents at my (Baptist) church had a discussion about some of the school reading books some of us kids had to read, and the general decision was to let the children read the books, but to make sure they are well informed of what is the real truth, and that the books are fiction. As long as your kid is well informed on what your church teaches and is firm in her beliefs, she should be okay reading the books. Be sure to let her know that you are always there to answer questions about anything she may come across that confuses her.


#5

None of these books would be a problem to a well formed and instructed person. Some of them contain elements that are somewhat un-Catholic; for example in Julius Ceasar The main Character; Cassius spends the majority of the play plotting to murder Caesar; Lord of the Flies has elements of violence and immorality in it; and Anthem requires you to observe it from a distance; and not believe everything in it.

In all truth; if someone views these works as literature rather than as material for moral instruction there will be no problems.

Incidentally; an English 10 honors without Christopher Marlowe; John Milton and Geoffry Chaucer (the founder of English Literature, no less) isn't too much of a list!

:thumbsup:


#6

There is absolutely no theological reason why any student, of junior high or higher level, should not be allowed to read any of those books.

Many of them are classics, and are used at the best Catholic Universities in the USA. I inow I certainly read several of them when I was in the Passionist Seminary at Warrenton, MO.


#7

I would suggest that the OP read the books herself so that she can hold discussions with her daughter and help her to understand how these books should be interpreted by Christians.


#8

As has been said already, Anthem is somewhat questionable- I really like the book though. Ayn Rand was a staunch atheist.


#9

anthem and other ayn rand books pushed me from being an anarchist/atheist to a fairly conservative catholic. funny huh

great book, wish i had read it earlier.


#10

Thanks guys for all your help!


#11

[quote="Joannm, post:3, topic:210755"]
Did you mean the Taming of the Shrew instead of the Taming Game of the Shrew?

[/quote]

You are right! Sorry about that!


#12

I have taught all of them other than Anthem (only because I've never had a chance too). Yes. She should read all of them and plenty more!!!


#13

Our kids were assigned The Girl Who Owned A City in sixth grade in a Catholic grade school. It’s author hoped to make the ideas of Ayn Rand accessible to children. It was a lousy book, we thought the author was a bubble off of plumb, but it gave us a lot to talk about. Maybe that is why it was assigned.

It is telling that Jon Stewart put this fake endorsement for his book on its jacket, attributed to Ayn Rand: “This is similar to my works in that anyone who reads it is sure to be an ah* for at least a month afterward” Here’s a real quote from her: “If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.” and “I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” Suffice it to say that people who work up a sympathy for her objectivist philosophy tend not to be people you want to spend much time with, not until they get over it (and themselves!)

If time even remotely allows–with six or more kids, the reading list could get to be enormous!–I think it’s better to read particularly challenging books and have scholarly discussions about them with your kids. By scholarly, I don’t mean boring. I mean discussions with intellectual meat on them, where you challenge the kids to think. Kids can get the basics of what is wrong with the wrong philosophies of the world better than you think. It does them good to know how to put it into their own words.


#14

I am so happy to hear schools are even teaching some of these books anymore

:thumbsup:


#15

I am currently reading Lord of the Flies in my Catholic high school. In fact, we have been discussing how the author, Golding, does put in Christian symbolism. There actually is a Christ character in the novel.

Inherit the Wind I have not read, but some in my school have read it in their classes. It’s about the Scopes Monkey Trial if I remember correctly and on evolution in the classroom. It’s a play. So I think it would be interesting, and if you want, you can read it too and have discussions on it and evolution and intelligent design.

To Kill a Mocking Bird is one of the greatest books I have ever read. It’s about racism in the south, the innocence of youth, and the battle between right and wrong. In fact, I remember hearing a while back that the main character’s father, Atticus Finch, has been voted the greatest literary character of all time. And you MUST see the Gregory Peck movie after reading the book.

I read Julius Caesar my sophomore year. There isn’t anything bad from what I remember. But it is Shakespeare, so it all depends on the teacher and how he/she teaches it that will determine what she takes from it.

The Taming of the Shrew is another Shakespeare. I haven’t read it, but it is one of his comedies.

A Separate Piece they read it in my high school. I hear it is very good.

I love Anthem. It’s a short book. It’s about a society in which there is no *I *only We. In the society, you don’t have a name, only a number, and you are assigned a job. It is a very gloomy society without individualism. And it’s about a character’s struggle to find his individualism. I like it. I think that it’s an amazing book. Ayn Rand, the author, was a strong atheist, I don’t think that that is a reason to disqualify her works. I like her thoughts on individualism. And like I said, it’s a short book, you can read it in a day if you wanted to.

These are good books she will be reading. I hope she enjoys them!
And if you want, you should read them too! There’s no harm in that


#16

Why wouldn't she be able to read them? Even if there is violence or a little explicit-acts, whats wrong with that? I think its just a taste of reality about whats out there, if not that, im pretty sure she already knows about what you'd try to hide from her.

If the school approves of them, there is no reason why you shouldn't either. The school would not make the children read the books if there was ANYTHING in the books that they felt was just too wrong to read at a high-school level.


#17

[quote="BlueShadow123, post:16, topic:210755"]
<<< If the school approves of them, there is no reason why you shouldn't either. The school would not make the children read the books if there was ANYTHING in the books that they felt was just too wrong to read at a high-school level.

[/quote]

I wouldn't be so quick there bub.


#18

[quote="BlueShadow123, post:16, topic:210755"]
Why wouldn't she be able to read them? Even if there is violence or a little explicit-acts, whats wrong with that? I think its just a taste of reality about whats out there, if not that, im pretty sure she already knows about what you'd try to hide from her.

If the school approves of them, there is no reason why you shouldn't either. The school would not make the children read the books if there was ANYTHING in the books that they felt was just too wrong to read at a high-school level./QUO

BlueShadow, I am my daughter's protector. I don't intend to give her just a LITTLE rat poisin!

[/quote]


#19

I am my daughter’s protector. I am not satisfied with just a LITTLE rat poison, because someone says to take it!


#20

:thumbsup:

It’s great that your school asks you to approve lists of books. Even if the books are pretty tame, it shows that the school cares about what parents think and wants them to be aware of what their children are learning in class.

As a teacher (though admittedly at the elementary school level, not the high school level), I know the forces at work behind book selections. There is basically a master list of books commonly recomended for reading at each grade level. It is not an official list put out by any group, but rather a list of works thought of as great by people who study literature. The fact that many literary critics are liberal is where there might be a problem. You get a lot of liberal stuff like Ayn Rand’s books mixed in with certifiable classics because liberal critics and academics love her. The majority of commonly recomended books are just fine though. They are challenging and engaging pieces suitable for the age group. There is not a vast liberal conspiracy out to shape young minds to support their cause through literature (though there are individual teachers out there who do try to do just that).

Your child’s teacher probably just chose from the list of commonly read books. There are plenty of teaching materials available for them because they are so often used. If she picked an uncommon book she would have to start from scratch trying to teach it.
The books listed don’t have anything a highschooler shouldn’t be exposed to and I think they can be a great springboard for conversations about Catholic morality and ethics.
You should talk to her regularly about what is reading so you can compare what the book is saying to what the Church teaches.


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