Defend or condemn the book.
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I don't think any books should ever be banned, although parents and librarians should use caution when introducing younger readers to certain texts.
The Awakening is a study in female psychology, but more importantly, in human rights. The whole reason this book was condemned is due to the time in which it was published and society's ideas of women and their place. The book deals with a woman who is tired of being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. She is searching for her own identity, her own space, her own ability to express her feelings and show her level of intelligence. She is attempting to break free of her physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional prison...she is a slave to her husband and society and like all who have experienced slavery, she finds it distasteful. In addition, she commits suicide at the end of the story, which is still today considered to be one of the most serious sins.
I think that censorship is very, very dangerous. I do not support the banning of any books in public schools, as I feel this is an infringement of freedom of speech, etc., which is a constitutional issue. Chopin's work is very controversial, yes, but also a beautiful, disturbing, thought provoking masterpiece! If readers can simply be open minded and realize the valuable nature of these controversial pieces of literature, there will be much less banning of books or attempted bannings.
The language, imagery, style and structure of this novel are so thoughtfully crafted that I can't imagine this novel not being available for students to study. Edna's thirty-nine chapter awakening, an awakening that ultimately comes through her death is such an eye-opening experience for the reader. The book certainly challenges its reader's notions of motherhood, fidelity, and suicude, but good books should challenge us -- that is how we grow. Censoring books is closing minds, and that is never a good idea.
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