Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ban Breaking Dawn?

New Moon Movie has posted information from an article in The Salt Lake Tribune about a the supposed ban of Breaking Dawn at a local junior high. I'm not going to repost the entire article here, you can read it at the above link, but I did want to highlight a couple of points.

Principal Terri Van Winkle would not say whether the delay stemmed from a parent's complaint about a honeymoon scene in which sex is implied between the central characters Bella and Edward. But Granite School District officials confirm a complaint was voiced.

Meanwhile, the school has ignored repeated complaints from another parent "appalled" by the "censorship" of a book she says promotes chastity and tolerance.

"Those are values I want my children to be taught," said Kris Jensen of Magna. "My 15-year-old has read the book. I've read the book and there isn't anything inappropriate."

Granite district spokesman Ben Horsley downplayed the book ban as fiction.


"I know some of the elementary school librarians keep it behind the counter. That way, they can ensure that the parent approves of the child checking it out," said Bonnie Flint at the Davis district.

The series begins with 17-year-old Bella Swan moving from her mother's sunny home in Phoenix to a rain-soaked town in Washington where she encounters Cullen Edward, the brooding adopted son of a local doctor. The Cullens are vampires, but they're the "good kind," drinking only animal blood.

The implied sex scene in Breaking Dawn starts with newlyweds Bella and Edward at the beach. The two kiss and caress before he pulls her into the water. The next scene has Bella waking the next morning to torn feathered pillows, bruises and a sore jaw.

The books are filled with erotic tension. But the consensus among reviewers is that the sexual themes are tender and tasteful. The two lovers remain chaste until married. Wildly popular among teenage girls, the first book was made into a major motion-picture movie in November and will be released on DVD at midnight Friday.

I hardly know where to start here, so I'll just take this one section at a time. (Please excuse what may be excessive use of sarcasm here.) Oh my, a honeymoon coupled having implied sex? What is the world coming to?!?! Somehow I doubt that there are junior high school students who don't know what generally happens on a honeymoon and are more likely to be shocked by the fact that it didn't happen until the honeymoon and was only implied at that. I mean, were it not for Renesmee, we could almost assume that Bella's injuries were the result of a rather spirited pillow fight! Books that are required reading in literature classes contain much more graphic scenes, very often of sexual abuse, not a loving exchange between a married couple. These books do carry the themes of chastity and tolerance, and that doesn't change in Breaking Dawn.

On to the second excerpt...I can't imagine why these books would be in elementary schools to begin with. In our area elementary school goes through fifth grade which would be around ten. That does not fit my idea of "young adult," and is way too early, I think, to be reading these books.

I guess the third excerpt mostly bothers me because it says Cullen Edward, and I reread that part of the book just to be sure and I can find no reference to her having a sore jaw. That seems to me like it was added to make the passage seem more inflammatory. I realize that this is an instance where people are up in arms over the sexual aspects of the book, but I would be more concerned with the brutality of the birth scene. I suppose that could be because I consider sex between a married couple as completely normal, natural and beautiful. Granted, said husband is a vampire, but that's not the issue that people are having here. The birth scene is terrifying and bloody, more so than any other scene in the saga. That to me is the stuff of nightmares. In either case, I do not believe that the books should be censored in this way.

Do I think these books should be in elementary schools, behind the counter or not? No. To me, if something must be kept behind the counter, it doesn't belong in an elementary school. Do I see any reason to keep these books out of schools where the students are covering much more graphic sexual topics in a completely different context? Absolutely not! How can you teach sex education in junior high and find offense in a married couple's "implied" sexual encounter. Doesn't make a bit of sense to me.

I want to hear what you think.. I know there are more of you guys following and reading this blog then comment. Give me break here and let me know you're out there. As much as I love Twilight, I hate to think that I'm doing this whole blog just for myself!


Shayla said...

Hey, I'm sorry I don't comment more, but I do frequent for latest news.
I have to be honest, when I read the books I got some tingles & blushed a little at the feathers and all that. I don't think I would want any daughter of mine reading these under 16 & have never understood why they are considered Youth Fiction. Sure they are young in the books, but the content is so much more right? I really have a lot of thoughts on this... I don't think that the school has a right to ban anything, it is up to parents if they decide to censor what their children read.

~ Joy ~ said...

Amber, you have such a way with words. I appreciate your news and commentary. And wish I could get my thoughts out as clear and concise as you do. That's why I love your blog. I can just comment, "here, here!" "What she said" and "True, dat!"

Thanks for all your efforts! Don't be discouraged. Blog for fun. The fans will come. MUAH!

AngiDe- Nana's Box said...

Hey, I have to second the lack of commenting... I am guilty of that too.
Anyway, thanks for posting this article. Very interesting. The thing is is that any parent anywhere will find something wrong with the current obsession, especially with books. Hence the Harry Potter sagas about banning it from schools. It seems that someone will always be offended no matter what.
As for having it in Elementary schools... well they are just asking for it. It is obviously way too mature for 8 year olds to be reading it.
And second- a book that promotes wonderful, happy, loving sex between a monogamous married couple should be praised among parents everywhere....
Anyway, I could go on and on.
But thanks for bringing this up. I will be posting it on my blog!

Tami said...

Well i guess i have a different view. my 8 yr old is reading breaking dawn right now. I hide nothing from her. We sit and talk about everything se reads. By the way i live 35 min outside of Salt Lake City! Here is the other thing my 8 yr old and my 16 yr old neighbor don't read those sections and understand them the way I do! Or anyone in my age bracket. It even took my mother a little bit to get the understanding at what the problem was.there is nothing expeclit in there! I know I am going to get it from some about my daughter reading it. But to each there own. I am very upfront and forth coming with my 3 daughters! I want them to understand. And as my 8 yr old has said, Geez mom it is just a fiction book!!( yes she knows what that means. She is a straight a student!)
I don't agree with the ban. It is almost as bad as a coule blogs i have been on saying bella is in a abusive relationship. And she should file charges for edward beating her and giveing her brusies! that is utter nonsense

Amber said...

Ah yes- a real discussion developing here...

Tami -
I have nothing negative to say to you about letting your daughter read these books at 8, because YOU are the one making that decision for her and you know what she's reading. Apparently though, if some elementary schools keeping it behind the counter, that means that others are not and I would certainly not want a child to be reading these without their parents knowledge and/or consent.

Tami said...

Amber I agree with that point. Full heartedly. My daughter has said that he first 3 books are at the school but not breaking dawn. So I don't know