THE DEATH OF CLASSIC BOOKS

By Amara D.
  1. "Classic." A book that people praise and don't read.- Mark Twain
  There seems to be a war going on and this war isn't over oil or WMDs we can't find. No this is a war on classic books that we of the thirty and over age group have read and enjoyed no matter how complex it might have seem. I've been thinking about something I heard while doing my student observation at a local New York high school. There are talks about removing Shakespeare from the curriculum. This isn't just happening here in New York, but all over. Why is this a shocker to me? Because many of Americas schools have been said to be under performing. Many countries are leaving us in the educational dust and the thought of considering removing classic books from the educational curriculum just re-enforce the thought that we are dumbing down our children.

  This issues has caught the eyes of many reporters and has been spoken about over and over again, but to little avail. So you might wonder what the reason is for them to consider removing Shakespeare from the curriculum. Give up? One of the main reasons that they are removing the classic writer is because they have come to the conclusion that Shakespeare is just too hard for our children to comprehend. Speaking from my own experience in the classroom. I've seen student moan and complain about not understanding the old form of English that the plays are written in. This to me a horrid excuse because none of us when we first encountered the works of Shakespeare really understood what he was talking about, but through hard work and with good teachers I along with many other students of my generation conquered the Elizabethan English.


  So why does the school systems think its okay to deny future writers, poets, and play writes the joy of experiencing Shakespeare's work? Well one reason is because I feel that believe that the students nowadays can't do the work nor do they care to put in the time to read and understand the classics. Students have  a wide array of books to read now a days. But some of the books children are reading are what I call street books. Those are books buy self published authors whom I feel don't bring any substance to the literary world. They write about ghettos and the issues that are played out in them such as drugs, prostitution, and other events we would rather not have our children read about yet.

  Another reason I found while looking up the issues, was for ethical reasons. With everyone trying to be political correct when it comes to race, beliefs. In an article I read by Jeff Bigger entitled "Who's afraid of "The Tempest"? I was exposed to a story happening out in Arizona, which was the removal of "The Tempest" from the school curriculum. The reason the Tuscon school system stated that they were removing the book from its curriculum is that they didn't want the teachers teaching:
 “race, ethnicity and oppression are central themes,” including the teaching of Shakespeare’s classic in Mexican-American literature courses.
  I'm all for being politically correct and all but how does pulling "The Tempest" not expose children to the harsh reality of what is out there? Sure this piece by Shakespeare has you tackling many issues in the book, but isn't that what you want? For students to set and debate about such issues. Who do students find their own voice if we sensor the materials that will eventually help them develop their own opinion about the world and issues we face.

  So in an effort to bring this to light, I thought I would write this piece to have you thinking, what will the students of today and tomorrow be reading, since everything that the school system considers hard or politically incorrect not be on the curriculum. If things go on as they are students here and in the UK and New Zealand (they are also debating the relevance of Shakespeare on their curriculum), will be missing out on great and self revealing plays. You should also consider that once Shakespeare is gone, who will they go after next, Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" , Dicken's "Oliver Twist"?

  These situations must be resolved in a timely manner before students are left reading books that only have pictures of everyone holding hands and singing "We are the World". If you would like to expose yourself to some classic books check out the free ebooks on Google Play. To read more about this issue checkout the links to the articles below.

  1. Who's afraid of "The Tempest"? - Books - Salon.com 
  2. Should We Stop Teaching Shakespeare
  3.  Why is Shakespeare so important? « scholarship@kk