The most surprising element of the course was seeing the discomfort found within the different audiences. I would agree with L ‘Engle and say that the books on the banned lists are those worth reading. I feel that these banned works really engage readers to press at controversial issues. I also found that our seminar’s conversations were very insightful and leaving me wanting more. Many of the issues found within the classroom traveled back into my personal life and became a hot topic within my family and friends. This class not only demonstrated the discomfort of going against the convention, but it allowed me to see not just both sides, but all sides.
I find it fitting that we read the shorter articles on banning baggy pants, cursing, smoking and tattoos on the last day. These articles help us see the constant act of banning in today’s society and the fact that it’s not just books that are being banned. I also found it kind of ironic, because this seminar has inspired me to look to banned books for my next read. I found that most of the books we read would classify as the “great” books and I think the next time I’m on a hunt for a “great” book that I am going to look up a list of banned books. The irony found within this class lies with the fact that the people banning these books only bring attention to the novel they wish to remove.
I also find it paradoxical that most of the time; those who are banning the books are those who really need to re-read the book. I feel that if you are really passionate about a book that you want it banned, just demonstrates the effect of the author on your perspective. Maybe people ban books only to hide their discomfort and unwillingness to change?
Just like in A Wrinkle in Time L‘Engle “asks some version of the same question ‘What does it mean to be human and to be a child of God’” (4). What I took from L ‘Engle’s novel was that our free will is what makes us human. That by removing free will, you take away what makes us different. To me this just exemplifies my point which I made earlier, that the ones who are banning the books are the ones who really need to sit down and read them. These banishers could learn a lot if they could just sit down with an open mind.
Hettinga also states the novel as, “troubling” because “the values and authority structures established by the author…have vanished” (3). I find his reasoning to fit right in with what I stated before, that those who wish things to be banned are those who really need to listen to the message.
This class has allowed me to see that society is tricky, and the convention isn’t always ‘right’. Most of our readings covered the issue of conforming to the ‘norms’ of society and the dangers that come with following blindly. I felt that this course was a sort of wake up call, and it really let me that the society we live in is filled with these blind followers. One major lesson learned from reading these banned books, is to not let people restrict my free will.
I also would like to tie in my service-learning, and just state that Govans was a great school to do service at, and the kids probably taught me more then I taught them. Many of my experiences at Govans have travelled into this course and my Race and Ethnicity course with Dr. Norman. I find that service and direct experience not only help teach me solidarity, but it allows me to put direct contact to what is learned in the classroom. I can only hope that the students at Govans get their hands on some banned books, especially AWrinkle in Time.