Kurt Vonnegut gets the boot in a Missouri school
A high school in Republic, Mo. bans two books, including Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five," after a parent complains about material incompatible with the Bible.
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“We just felt that of the three books, the two we have pulled aren't age-appropriate and send the wrong message,” board member Ken Knierim told the UPI.Skip to next paragraph
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As it turns out, the Republic High School isn’t alone in banning the books. “Slaughterhouse Five” is a fixture on the most-banned books list of the American Library Association. One of the first to ban it, says Mike Hendricks of the Kansas City Star, was a North Dakota school district that, in 1973, gathered up its 32 copies and burned them in a coal furnace.
“Vonnegut was outraged,” writes Mr. Hendricks, “but surely appreciated the irony of burning a book whose narrative centers on the allied firebombing of Dresden during World War II."
"So were he still alive, I imagine the author would be rolling his eyes at the thought that his 1969 book about young men dying for a cause they couldn’t fathom – its subtitle is “The Children’s Crusade” – was deemed unfit for young eyes in 2011,” Hendricks added.
As Hendricks points out, there’s probably no better way to get these Republic high schoolers to read Vonnegut and Ockler than to ban them.
“Simply forbid your high schooler from reading the likes of J.D Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye,’ Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’ and other classics on [the most banned list],” he writes. “Next thing you know, they’ll be reading under the covers at night with a flashlight.”
As Vonnegut might have said, so it goes.
Husna Haq is a Monitor contributor.