Monday, July 14, 2008

Self-Ed 7/14/08

Read this week:
Pinocchio (completed)
A Little Princess (completed)
Anne of Green Gables (completed)
The Vicar of Wakefield (in progress)

Comments: I loved Pinocchio, even though it was a bit strange and not very similar to the Disney version. A Little Princess was delightful, although it was spoiled a bit for me when I read about Frances Hodgson Burnett on Wikipedia. Suddenly all the innocent "Magic" became Spiritualism and Theosophy. Oh well. It's still a very good story. I have read Anne of Green Gables several times before. The purpose of this re-read is because I have just bought copies of Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside, which I have never read before. I thought it would be a good idea to re-read the rest of the series before starting in on those two.

The Hobbit (completed)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (completed)
Frankenstein (in progress)

Comments: The Hobbit was, of course, an excellent read. I had read it once before, in middle school, but I guess I was too stupid or poorly educated to follow the easy-to-follow story. Lots of good adventure.
Tom Sawyer was also an enjoyable read. Harmony and I were wondering last week about when Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn were going to be banned from public schools, due to some politically incorrect terms/attitudes expressed by the characters (but which I imagine was quite present in the then-contemporary vernacular).
I read Frankenstein back in 2000, for summer reading. I was quite surprised to find that I actually liked it. However, as with most books that I haven't read in many years, I don't remember many details at all (just that I liked it). So it "might as well" be a first-time read.

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5 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Ewokgirl

    I used to teach 9th-grade English. Tom Sawyer was one of the books on the reading list that I could teach, so I opted for that my first semester. Big mistake. When they got to the n-word, the black students in my classes boycotted the book. Mind you, they didn't ask for an alternate assignment; they just refused to read any further. *sigh* No amount of explaining that it was the vernacular at the time would make them pick up their books again.

    I switched from Tom Sawyer to The Princess Bride the next semester. It just wasn't worth the headache.

  • Birdie

    I've never read "The Vicar of Wakefield". I'll be looking forward to reading your thoughts on it.

  • JunkMale


    I could be wrong, but I'm sure your black students never would've batted an eye about the politically incorrect attitudes expressed about Indians and so-called "half-breeds." Or especially in a hypothetical situation where white people would be talked about in a disparaging manner.

    My future children will likely be so-called "half-breeds" (I say likely because we will probably have at least one adoption, who could also very well be mixed), but I didn't find myself offended. Rather, I just chuckled at the political incorrectness and the ignorance of the then-contemporary attitudes.

  • Thehotrod5

    As a parent of 3 black children I would of been offended at "the n-word" and no my children would not of been reading the book (unless edited). The term "negro" is one thing as far as understanding venacular, but the "n-word" is a whole other story. Discussing the term "half breeds" would fall into the same category as "negro"- not appropriate terminology and should not be used as there are better "labels" (ok let me laugh at that one). On the other hand, I would not have my child think so highly of themselves to think that they were capable of "avoiding" homework on principle. They would of asked for another assignment (same as in the case when people have asked our kids to bring in baby pictures and make "photo" family trees).


  • Headmistress, zookeeper

    Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn HAVE been banned from different classrooms.

    I love Francis Hodgson Burnett, but knowing more about here didn't make me happy.

    And I was surprised to discover that I really liked Frankenstein, too.

    The N word is still inappropriate, and it's also still part of the vernacular. Jesse Jackson used it just this month, saying that Obama was trying to tell 'n_---s' how to run their lives.

    I don't think black kids should be shortchanged by missing out on Mark Twain's books, he's making some very good points, and he's opening a window to history that they aren't going to get from history books, but I do think it might take a certain level of maturity and self confidence to get all that.