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jul 6, 2008, 4:47 am

So, here's a question. I recently read Kite Runner, and a couple of different thought processes and conversations have me wondering--would this work as a highschool text? For one, a friend of mine is trying to get her curriculum, called 'world lit.', to actually Be 'world lit.', and she was wondering about this one. I'm also about to write a paper about implementing more current coming-of-age stories into highschool and college reading, and this one comes to mind...BUT, there's the sexual content. I know I read worse in high school, as did my friends, but for those of you who've read Kite Runner, what do you think? I wouldn't hesitate to teach it in my contemp. lit classes in college, but this work in a high school?

The closest I have to a relevant (in this regard) defense is Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Hardy; the rape scene there is alluded to when it happens, but you're sure by the end and it really is a point the work hinges on, moreso than the sexual content of Kite Runner in a way. In any case, thoughts?

jul 6, 2008, 7:35 am

I imagine this questions needs to be seen within the context of your specific community. I am sure there are places where this would be quite OK, assuming appropriate teaching. Other places: not so much.

The school librarian might be a good person to take the temperature of the community.

jul 6, 2008, 3:19 pm

I agree basically, but the issue here is more that the paper will be looking at highschool and college reading in general. Contemp. college classes often stop around 1990 at best, and for high school it's more often around 1960 (this based off of surveying I've done of my college students over the last few years, as well as my experiences, talks with friends, etc.). I'm wondering if anyone can see a high school in general as being able to teach Kite Runner, or if the content makes it impossible--of course, the other issue would be whether current teachers think their students would be able to handle it in a mature way during class discussion.

jul 6, 2008, 3:32 pm

In my experience it is the teacher who makes the difference. A good teacher who is firmly in touch with her students, who has excellent communication skills, and who has built good relations with his administration and students' families, can teach just about anything. Controversial books frequently do well under such a teacher's hand; otherwise, not so much.

I just read last week where a teacher was suspended for a year and a half for insisting on teaching a controversial book. And the book was written by another teacher about teaching in inner city schools. First teacher's students included some who appeared to be similar to the students who contributed to the book. Use of rough language was certainly an issue but most likely also "bad" behavior - violence, sexuality, and generall adolescent angst.

The school board said it was not the book per se but the fact that this teacher was insubordinate.

A mine field.

Redigerat: jul 9, 2008, 12:43 am

That's what I'm wondering--have you read Kite Runner by any chance?

WARNING:: SOME SPOILERS re. Kite Runner in this thread below this point. (Spoilers not regarding conclusion or plot line, but some subjects/acts within the book are discussed specifically, not with names)

jul 7, 2008, 10:28 pm

Yes, I have read it and was not disturbed by it in the slightest; however, the subject of an adult male raping a child male is without a doubt an incendiary topic particularly since this is set in a Muslim country.

It was a while ago that I read it and I remember feeling favorable disposed towards the book. Hard to say "liked" or "felt good" about it.

jul 7, 2008, 10:30 pm

BTW, my grandson who will be a senior in high school next year has also read it and thought it to be a very good book. But you know, we live on the left coast, in Microsoft territory.

jul 9, 2008, 12:41 am

That's good to know. I've been trying to think of a book that I've heard of being taught in high school that deals with either adult-child rape or child-child, but I'm afraid I haven't been able to as of yet, and so I've been wondering whether that might be one of those deal-breakers as far as having it taught to minors in public schools.

Redigerat: jul 9, 2008, 1:05 am

I haven't read the book, but it was taught in our high school last year for freshman honors english. I noticed it isn't being taught this year, but I don't know if they change the books every year, or if it didn't turn out well. I live in Highlands Ranch, CO (south of Denver).

aug 2, 2008, 12:46 am

wow--and I wasn't even thinking of freshmen! thanks for letting me know, and sorry for the long disappearance; I just got through a move, and it took a lot longer to get internet up at the new apartment than expected...