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Friday, August 27, 2010

Is Violence Appropriate in Young Adult Books?

There's a lot of talk about the Hunger Games (http://www.scholastic.com/thehungergames/) on how well written it is, but also about the violence in the story. I haven't yet read the series because my daughters have commandeered them, but from what I read on the book jacket, the whole series is based on children killing children for the entertainment of others.
The topic of violence in YA literature, which Nathan Brandsford addresses in his Friday morning blog, has raised a point; Violence in Children's Literature:Is There a Line? (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/). (I'm not very computer savvy, as you can tell. Give me time, I'll figure out how to do proper links!)
Is there a line? How about Lord of the Flies, or Animal Farm, both classics in children's literature? My daughters study them in school.
Violence is on the television (thank goodness my girls prefer to watch Family channel,) and in the movie theater at every turn, and not to mention on the streets and in the homes of countless children. I'm not saying it's a good thing; it just is.
Can we honestly protect our children from it? There was a time I wanted to home school my girls and hold them close to home at all times, but they are very gregarious, not allowing me to shelter them (we won't talk about finding out one of them would slip out her bedroom window after being told she couldn't go to said party and walked from our farm into the city).
Any opinions on the matter?

2 comments:

DLCurran said...

Sometimes, when I think about how much fun (read trouble) I got into as a kid, I think we try to protect them too much... then I turn on the news. Tough line... and easy to cross as a writer.

David A. Bedford said...

I think the kind of violence described about Hunger Games is very unhealthy, but I am not against any and all violence in literature that young people (or adults, for that matter) read. It must be essential to the story and not described in gory detail or dwelt on for its own sake.

Lord of the Flies contains very little violence. The terror of it is the fear of what was about to happen if it was not stopped.

In my current series I have a small amount of the kind of minor violence that happens in school. It will ratchet up some in the third and last book, but it's all purely instructive and never gory.

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