GRENDEL Being Challenged In New York
A New York teacher blogs about how she's fighting a challenge to GRENDEL by John Gardner. She writes (superbly):
The parents who are challenging our decision to teach the book are deeply committed to the belief that there is already enough "evil" in the world and their children should be reading only "uplifting" materials.
I disagree. The world is made up of both good and evil and for students to decide where they stand, they must first explore the nature of good and evil, argue about it, change their minds a few times, and then come to a decision. Frankly, I think this frightens some parents because many would like their children to simply believe what they believe and value what they value—but this simply cannot be. It is human nature to question.
Despite its graphic imagery and language and the presence of evil, I believe that Grendel is an excellent book to teach on many levels. It lends itself to deep character analysis as well as literary devices such as motif, tone, and imagery.