I am extremely pleased with the way that the discussion went yesterday. It was so great to sit back and watch as everyone moved around to the different stations and became engaged with each different activity (regardless of how awkward some of the reading excerpts were…… oh Pudge) . Before the discussion, I wasn’t really sure how all of you would take to the ide of rotating around to all of the different stations, and i also wasn’t really sure how passionate everyone would be about banned books and censored language. When Alexis and i started to think about what we were going to do for our project (which definitely wasn’t on the Sunday before the discussion) we originally had the idea that we would mainly focus on the Huckleberry Finn video and use that as our focal point. I know that we could have had a much longer discussion on this video, because it seemed like almost everyone had an opinion on it, but i’m glad that we were able to incorporate other activities into the class period. I think that these other activities allowed us all to investigate the different facets of banned books and censored writing. It was great watching everyone get excited when they saw how many books on the banned book list they had read before, and it was great watching how awkward everyone got when they got the the “Looking for Alaska” and “Go Ask Alice” station. I almost wis that i had been able to do some of the rotations with everyone, but I loved being able to witness everyones passino when they discusse all of the subject that were involved. I was alos AMAZED at how well the town hall meeting/public debate/ Battle Roayle went. Even if some of the arguments weren’t exactly real, the way that everyone was able to take on their parts so well made it so much fun to watch. Hermione and her Union movements, how poisoning. I hope that everyone was able to understand what the point of that mock debate was, and how important it is to understand how the different opinions about banning books comes about, and how passionate people really can feel about banning books even when everyone else sees the book as completely harmless. As teachers this is an issue that we will have to approach with caution, and we will be expected to understand all of the different sides of the issues even if some of them may seem unbelievable.
I wish we had ben able to discuss the censored writing in Huck Finn further because I thought that it was the most interesting station out of the 4. I absolutely understand the motivation behind the publication of the censored versino, and i am fine with anyone who is overwhelmingly uncomfortable with the original text reading the censored version instead, but i don’t really believe that the censored version does much to actually censor the text. If the censored versino is given to a group of students who are told that the N-word has been omitted and replaced with “slave,” don’t you think that every time the students read the word “slave” the N-word would still automatically pop into their head? In that way, i don’t think replacing the word brings about any actual solution to the uncomfortableness of the word. It almost makes it seem like it’s just a word that shouldn’t be talked about and we should all just forget why people ever used it or what the history behind it is, which seems like it’s just giving it that much more power over us. Also, here’s the full length clip from 60 minutes, for anyone who wants to hear more about the subject.
Thanks for the opportunity to do this discussion!