September 30, 2010

BBW: Mark Twain & more Mark Twain

People challenged Mark Twain's books, even when he was alive. Why? Well, in the case of Huck Finn, it was because he's a bad role model for young impressionable children. Don't wait around to see what I have to say about it - instead, check out what Twain wrote himself about censorship in his Autobiography. I think he says it way better than I could, but the question of morality in books gets me thinking - should books be written with morals in mind?

I'm of two minds here. For all the world I tell myself that no, no characters must be moral or good role models or broccoli-flavored and therefore good for you. But when it comes to writing my own work, I tend toward the "But I can't write a weak female protagonist! Think of the children! The horror!" train of thought. In general, I would say that there is no need, or even desire, for all main characters (especially in children's literature) to be good and moral and upstanding. But I do find myself thinking, from time to time, that all books should at least hold the potential of opening one's mind to new horizons. Simply put, I'd like to be able to learn from every book I read, because that, in part, is what I read for in the first place.

There is much much more to say on that front, but I'll leave it here for now. Hope you're all enjoying Banned Books Week! (There remains the issue of how much one can learn from a floppy female protagonist whose impetus for kicking off the story is unrequited love, but I figure I'll deal with that one later...)

1 comment:

  1. I really don't think there is a "should" about how books are supposed to be written. Books should be written the way the author wants - some will earn an audience, some won't. Our world is too complex for these kinds of rules :-)

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