Free «Young Adult Literature: a Bone or a Boon» Essay Sample

Over the recent years, the issue of young adult literature has been debated on. Whereas some argue that young adult literature is relevant to the current pop culture, others vehemently oppose its use in schools and colleges. Some critiques have dismissed the young adult literature as useless and that it has no place, as it greatly diverts from the classical texts. Most parents in USA have argued against the use of this literature in learning institutions. A number of issues have been raised concerning this literature, but the most predominant are sexual explicit and offensive language. Though Young Adult Literature is sometimes wrongly critiqued, especially by those who understand less about literary techniques, it greatly deviates from the standard society norms (Carth 23). Therefore, in all academic institutions, it should be substituted by the classical texts.

Most complains are initiated by parents. Whereas most parents complains are about the offensive language, recent trends indicate that books with sexuality are increasing. Some of these books promote homosexuality. The major themes are homosexuality and they feature character that is either gays or lesbians. The political policies supporting same sex marriages are also featured in this literature (Carth 79).

According to Carth this trend has also been criticized in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ (14). This book was book was banned due to extreme sexual exposure. The protagonist a young adult is lured into persuading Faith Cavendish for sex. Holden is aroused when he watched some people in the guest rooms who were involved in sex. Homosexuality is also featured in this book. For instance at the Edmont, Holden watches a man dressing himself like a woman. Holden is also portrayed as being an academic failure.

On the other hand, other critics describe it as being beautiful and subtle. The book is interesting because it is told from a disaffected teenager’s point of view. The teenager reveals his turmoil in a thrilling manner. This is graded as one book that is a pared down duality. That it feels more like a TV (Carth 15).

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Carth argues that Parents, teachers and other critiques complain about offensive language in young adult literature (102). It is not surprising though to find someone who has never read the book half way talking of use of bad language in the book. In Chinese handcuffs 1989, a gang that he had witnessed earlier kill his brother goes after him in school. They confront the school principal. Following is the conversation between the school principal and the gangs.

“Cladwell [school principal] said, ‘We don’t have a student by that name here.’

‘Then how did you know that he was a student?’ Wolf [biker] asked with a sneer, ‘Maybe he is a teacher or a janitor-One of the bikers yelled, ‘He told us he goes to school here asshole, now get him hurt or someone gets hurt”(Crutcher 111).

It could be wrong to judge the author here with offensive language. The bikers here are very angry and this is a real portrayal of their emotions. Consequently the author had early on pointed to their violence, illiteracy thus use of language here helps to identify the bikers (Carth 145).

Robert Cormier’s, We All Fall Down has also been criticized as employing a language that is revolting and nauseating. The novels begin with the following lines. However, in response to the critique Robert argues that he actually wanted the reader to be disgusted by the boy’s behavior.

“They entered the house at 9.30 am on April fool’s Day. In the next forty minutes thy shit on the floors and piss on the walls and trashed their way through the seven room cod cottage (Cormier 3).

Though most parents support and actively take part in censorship of young adult literature, others are against this censorship. Some feel that the classical texts are very topical and dark. They entail topics such as alcoholism, marriage, maternal suicide family dysfunction that is too complicated for some levels of education. They argue that such topics are not relevant and make the children unhappy. Therefore, children should be left to read what they want to read (Carth 120).

According to Carth apart from abusive language and sexual explicit other issues such as racial discrimination (123). For instance, a black American girl was asked by her teacher to read out aloud a section of a book that features racial discrimination. The story ‘Telephone Man’ by Clutcher is about racism and bigotry. The main character telephone man was unleashing racial abuses in this particular chapter that the girl was meant to read. The girl was so uncomfortable reading the part that she later went and reported the incidence to her mother. Consequently, the teacher was relocated and there were calls everywhere for the ouster of the book.

The young adult literature was aimed at solving the problem of literature. It majorly employs a realistic approach whereby the current trends and culture are enhanced. Therefore, it deals with realistic issues such as homosexuality, sexual relationships drugs, and crime among the young people. This literature is majorly attacked because of its realistic approach. Since the protagonist in most of these books is a young adult, such themes as homosexuality could be sending immoral messages to the young minds. These books should therefore not be used in academic institutions because they are destructive to the learners.


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