Friday, January 16, 2009

Atwood Classic Not Suitable For Teens?

The suitability of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 classic The Handmaid’s Tale has been challenged at a Toronto school, according to The Toronto Star.
Toronto's public school board is reviewing Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale after one complaint from a parent whose child was studying the novel in a Grade 12 class.

While the board would not discuss the nature of the concern over the 1985 dystopian novel that is used nationwide -- described by some educators as a staple of its genre – a source said it was believed to be over sexuality and criticism of religious fundamentalism.
This is apparently the first time The Handmaid’s Tale has been challenged in Canada, though it ranks 37th on the ALA’s Top 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990 to 2000.

The original article is here. In a follow up editorial, The Star’s Living columnist Antonia Zerbisias answers the challenge, saying, in part:
It's a great book and, like George Orwell’s Animal Farm, required reading for my Cold War generation, and Aldous Huxley’s timeless Brave New World, is exactly the kind of literature needed to stimulate thoughtful discussion amongst adolescents who might not otherwise debate much more than who should win American Idol.Link
Especially in times like these.

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Anonymous loupgrru said...

One of the least formally discussed about subjects in high school is the ongoing worldwide subjugation of women. There is no terribly graphic description of sex in this book, only the ongoing tale of a woman who is a sex slave. It's not that this is unlikely, and it could certainly lead to some beneficial conversations and writing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 11:59:00 AM PST  

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