Monday, 16 March 2009

Help, please.

This book was Jaclyn's first required reading for English 10 AP. Have you read it? I hadn't before, but now I can say I don't care for it. I know Brave New World is listed in The Modern Library's one hundred best novels, but it doesn't pass the 13th Article of Faith standard (seeking out virtuous and lovely) nor the For the Strength of Youth standard (choose only media that uplifts you, avoid the vulgar and immoral).
I would like to be able to go to parent teacher interviews in a few weeks with a list of great literature worth academic study that isn't full of promiscuity. I can't stand the idea of a high school English career full of more books like Brave New World.
I know some of you are big literature buffs. Some of you have taught school. Could you make some suggestions for books worthy of both academic study and gospel standards (I will only read and watch things that are pleasing to Heavenly Father)?
Ironically, my message to Jaclyn's English teacher will ultimately be in line with the message of this very book that I am protesting. As Jiddu Krishnamurti said:
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."


Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I love your closing quote. My sister successfully homeschools her high schoolers, I'll ask her to send you a list of good literature. I'm amazed at what she and her kids read.

Good luck.

Kelly said...

Hmm, I will think about this and get back to you.

I haven't read that book, but I remember my junior year the literature selections definitely being lacking in redeeming value. We had to read Madame Bovary -- disgusting! The other selections were not much better.

Amy, having taught high school English, will no doubt have some good suggestions for you. She's quite nauseously pregnant right now and not actively reading blogs. You might want to email her though.

Melanie said...

Dracula, Oedepus Rex, Shampoo Planet, The Odyssey - lots of these go even into first year University, but grade 10 AP can handle them as well. I took AP through high school, and had the same challenge, and then again in my fist year of University in a mandatory English class at the UofL being told I could leave the room because they were going to talk about sex and I had stood up for my standards. I was told it was my choice if I read the books or not, but the professors choice if I passed or failed - I took a gamble, and for me it paid off, What you read too easily slips into your thoughts.

Tiffany said...

I love your end quote, as well. It was funny to have Kelly mention Jr. English--I agree--a few not-worth-it-in-the-end books there! I did read the ones that were okay. One book (I don't even remember what it was) an older sister & mom objected to. That was good enough for me--I talked to the teacher and she gave me an alternate book to read. I got to go to the library while the class was discussing that book. Why choose a book like that in the first place? If I come up with something good I'll let you know.

Amanda L. said...

I love that you are quoting the book. Fantastic.

That was on my AP Engligh list years ago, but I never read it. I'll go through my books and see what I did read. There is so much good literature out there that we don't need to fill our minds with vulgar things.

There have been enough LDS kids go through our high school that the teacher knows, and has other books for the LDS kids to read. I am thankful for other families who have helped pave the way for my kids.

Good luck!

cheetah said...

This happened to me in university and I got to pick another book or short story. Prof was really good about it.
Two books come to mind. I read them at university but Jaclyn could read them: Jane Eyre & Fruits of the Earth. The second is a historical novel of the prairies. I loved it of course.

Christy said...

Yay for good moms like you. I was equally disgusted to see the grade 8 literature list.....seems like jr. high teachers think that its fun to read a lot of poetry and short stories about depressed and suicidal youth. What's with that! I too had the 13 Article of Faith running thru my mind.

Marie said...

I just finished reading The Scarlet Letter, and I have to say, it was fantastic. Let's see. Other 'scholarly' books.... Great Expecations, Wuthering Heights, and Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Let us know how it goes.

Denise said...

I'm going to admit, first of all, that I really liked Brave New World. I read it as an adult, though, and it's been probably 15 years since I read it, so I've probably forgotten/blocked out a lot of it. I just liked the way it cautioned about culture, government, technology, etc. Kind of like 1984 (which is another good book, and I think has less of the junk in it, if I recall correctly).

Here are a few more suggestions:

To Kill a Mockingbird (EVERYONE should read this book. It's fabulous).

The Giver

Crime and Punishment

The Diary of Anne Frank

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Anything by Shakespeare

Billy Budd (short story)

The Lottery (short story)

The Old Man and the Sea

Moby Dick

The Red Badge of Courage

The Pearl

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Grapes of Wrath

Bear in mind, some of these are not happy books. They deal with war, slavery, racism, etc. But as far as I remember, they don't have any sex in them. There might be a little language, but I don't remember. You could always pre-read them to make sure. But I think all of them would pass muster as having academic integrity as well as a moral to be learned. And most of them I read in high school, so I know they're within reach of that age.

Amy said...

I love your end quote...and the fact that you're a mom who cares so much (is it a shame that there's any other kind??). I'll e-mail my thoughts. I worked at a very classics-oriented school...there are tons of books that are worthwhile and uplifting.

Lucy said...

I don't have any ideas, but I love reading every one else's. I applaud you for defending your values and being aware of your daughter's education. It's a great example to me, even if I might be one who wouldn't be offended by this book.

Price Cream Parlor said...

This is an uphill battle at our school as well. I do know that some teachers have 'alternative' books they can read. However, most of the projects, discussions and homework are based on the book that the 'class' is reading. I love that you are quoting that very book you are protesting! Classic! Wonder if the teacher will even get that?!!
Stand firm! Go in with love and concern for the lack of morals that we are setting as a society - starting in 10th grade?! There are so many other wonderful books to be read and shared! It is really a shame that because someone is on a list somewhere it is considered GREAT literature!
Good luck and keep us posted!

Christy said...

The worst part is when you read the book, trusting your school leaders, and then find out too late the corruption contained therein!! Ross just said to make sure that no one reads "The Wars" by Timothy Findley. He says "it's filthy". NICE. Argh.

michelle said...

I love your quote and your post as a whole, Barb.

To Kill a Mockingbird should be required reading for anyone.

Gilead is a modern book that won the Pulitzer prize, has strikingly beautiful prose, and is not offensive at all.

Resurrection by Tolstoy.

Steinbeck's body of work

I'm going to have to think more about this. I'm all about the classics, that's pretty much all I read until I went to college.

Barb said...

The parent/teacher interview was interesting. Positive. It was a good reminder of how different my view is.
I think the idea that everything we take in through media makes a permanent place in our minds and has an effect on our spirits was a brand new concept to the teacher - not something that she would consider in choosing literature.
I think she'll respect my wishes. It will be interesting to continue to work with her throught the next couple of years of Jaclyn's highschool english education.