Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Banned Book Week: A Discussion about Divergent by Veronica Roth and Schools

Okay guys so since it is Banned Books Week, something we here are Better Read Than Dead find completely loathesome, we want to discuss some books that are banned or challenged or even some books that we feel might get challenged or banned in the future. For the first book of the week we chose Divergent because of the explosive message it has for young people of today. Some of you might not like the book but don't be discouraged into joining the discussion!

Why could it be banned or challenged in the future?

Kelly: Well in my opinion, I think firstly certain people will object to the whole 'rebel against authority' thing even though some of it may be wrong. Some people will only see it as a book that promotes rebellion in teenagers. Also the whole being separated from your parents when you are 16. Another reason...the violence and child soldiers, people probably will object to that because that is obviously something that will never happen <---notice sarcasm.

Kristin: After being bullied (okay, not exactly true) by my Starbooks girls to read Divergent, I immediately fell in love with Veronica's world, but what really pulled me in was how much it made me think of certain things in society today. Each faction fanatically believed something drastically different and they believed they were the only ones who were right. Sound familiar? Well, some might disagree, but it does to me. And when absolute beliefs are forced on people, they rebel, especially teenagers. If you aren't the parent of one, you might not understand this, but believe me, I have two. So yeah, people are going to complain because of the violence and teenagers rebelling against authority when in reality, it's the right thing to do. A lot of books are challenged because of violence, so I could completely see this happening in the future.

Why banning this book would be a serious disadvantage to everyone, especially young adults?

Kelly: This book has such an explosive message. It tells people to stand up for what they believe in and to not conform to what people expect them to be. It teaches people that it is okay to be different from your family, friends and the neighbourhood you grew up in. If you want to pursue a different path then you do that. You shouldn't fear what everybody would think of you. It also teaches you that if you think what people are doing is wrong, you should speak up in stead of just going along with it. If you aren't brave but want to be, Dauntless can help some people achieve that. They can definitely use Tris as a role model.

Kristin: So, Divergent contains so many messages to our young adults, I'm not sure I can list them all. I'm going to try to list them in the order of the book, if I can remember that far back. First, sixteen year old children are forced to make a life defining decision. And not one they can change without dyer consequences. I was horrified at the age of 18 thinking I had to go to college and choose a profession, one I could change any time I wanted to. And sometimes in making this choice, it meant never seeing your family again and going against everything you've ever known, but it taught you to think for yourself, and often outside the box. Next, know your morals and values. Know yourself. If you see or are asked to do something that is outrageously wrong, be strong enough to stand strong. And this one may sound terrible, but it's true, know your friends. Know who would lay down their life for you and stay loyal above all else. Tris's loyalty to Four saved him, many times over. Lastly, like Kelly mentioned, don't be afraid of change, or to change if that's what you want.

The only person you have control over is yourself, but the smallest change in you has a butterfly effect on the world around you - good or bad. Children should be taught to think outside the box, and quit being processed as squares, because people, they are our future, and we darn sure haven't done a good job with what we have, you better hope they're equipped with the skills to outshine and outlast.

Some Young Adult books should be considered for either high school or University curriculums, is this one of them?

Kelly: In my opinion I do believe that the whole Divergent series should be taught in schools, because honestly we need a bit of a sprucing up in our literature department. Why only teach books that are seen as classics. We need books that deal with the problems of today's age and children, because honestly, Middlemarch by George Eliot didn't relate to me at all when I read it for my assignment. Now I'm not saying every Young Adult book should be added but to be completely honest there are some literary master pieces out there right now, and teenagers would benefit learning the messages underlined in these books more than 'what to do when a man is more important than you are and you have to depend on him to care for you.'

Kristin: My mom and I have had this discussion on many occasions. As a high school English teacher, she tends to agree with me on my stance that there is updated literature that can teach the same morals the classics did, some might even teach better lessons. We're no longer stuck in an age where the man goes to work and the woman sits at home (excuse the cliche) barefoot and pregnant. Women are working beside men in every field. They're firefighters and doctors, serving on the front lines in the service and lawyers, mechanics and teachers. Girls no longer need to be taught to hope a man falls in love with their femininity, they need to learn that if a man can't fall in love with all of them, then he's just not worth it. And, how to cope tragedy and loss. People, Romeo and Juliet's coping mechanisms were seriously flawed and you think this is a lesson our children should learn? Um, no. With suicide being a prominent issue in schools today, why glorify it. Oh yeah... it's Shakespeare and it's a classic. Now, I'm not advocating taking every classic out of the classroom, but I am advocating updating the majority of the literature taught in schools. The world has changed in the last ten years, and the vast majority of what our children are being taught is from many decades, sometimes centuries, preceding that.

***Um, you'll notice one of us "rants" a little more than the other, please excuse the emotions.***

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