School curriculum novels provide new discourse

With increasing discourse around the country surrounding the content of curriculum novels, there is a deepening issue within English departments: What is and isn’t appropriate for students?


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Through assigned reading and in-depth analysis, English high school curricula all over the country aim to teach students life lessons.
Recently, some of these novels are being questioned due to their mature themes.
Through the seemingly boring stories of religious strife, power struggles or mob mentality, we often find ourselves questioning why we have to read these novels.
We often wonder what it is that makes these particular stories so important.
The answer is that it depends on the novel and its historical context, and what the author specifically wanted us to know.
There are important underlying messages in most, if not all, of the books we read.
William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” teaches us that in given circumstances, who we are and the values we hold might waiver.
It also teaches us about the heavy influence that others can have on us and how that can be, sometimes, dangerous.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” teaches us about our identities in society, as well as guilt and the nature of good and evil.
Their significance is the reason they’re taught. Most of the books chosen for school curriculums are considered classics.

There is an increased worry about the sensitive topics explored in books taught in high school curriculum, but one thing is definitely clear: they were chosen for a reason.

To be considered a classic, it’s important for the book to be timeless and have surrounding discourse for years, decades, or centuries. They’re deemed classics based on these criteria, giving us reasons to study them.
There’s a growing population of people that believe some of these books are “too mature” or “too opinionated” or “old-timey.”
One of these includes “To Kill a Mockingbird.” While this book features many mature topics and issues, it’s important that students are exposed to things like this.
The novel goes into depth about prejudice in our country’s past, as well as discusses issues within the justice system and what it means to be courageous and brave.
Going along with these themes, and maybe making the novel slightly more unsettling, there is an emphasis on the loss of innocence. Though there are deep and even disturbing themes lying within the novel, the messages it teaches are vital to students’ understanding of the world around them.
Another novel providing grounds for complaints is J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” due to, among other things, its colorful language.

There is an increased worry about the sensitive topics explored in books taught in high school curriculum, but one thing is definitely clear: They were chosen for a reason. Similar to why classics are regarded as such, books taught to students have been chosen for the specific information they provide, the cultures they explore, the discourse they continue to raise in academic settings and the endless pop culture references they display.
These books should be seen as an integral part of traditional schooling.