Updated: Jul 31
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People who advocate for the removal or restriction of a book have rarely read it, relying instead on out-of-context excerpts feed to them from out-of-state groups with political motives to vilify educators and harm public education.
We encourage you to read this review from one of your neighbors, and read the book in question yourself. We believe you will find, as our professional librarians have already established- that the book has merit and value when taken as a whole.
BANNED BOOK REVIEW BY A CITIZEN OF LARAMIE COUNTY
THE HANDMAID'S TALE
The Handmaid's Tale
By Margaret Atwood
Reviewed by Jocelyn, 11th Grade Student, LCSD1, Cheyenne, WY
Margaret Atwood's dystopian classic, The Handmaid's Tale, has been the subject of heated debate regarding its appropriateness for school curricula. However, banning this thought-provoking and timely novel from educational institutions would be a grave mistake. As an ardent advocate of free expression and critical thinking, I firmly believe that The Handmaid's Tale should not only be read but embraced within the educational sphere.
Set in the near-future Republic of Gilead, where women are stripped of their rights and reduced to reproductive vessels, Atwood's gripping narrative explores themes of power, gender, autonomy, and the dangers of totalitarianism. The novel serves as a chilling warning of what can happen when a society's fundamental freedoms and values erode. By addressing such critical issues, The Handmaid's Tale encourages students to engage in meaningful discussions about the complexities of human rights, social justice, and the role of government.
Some argue that the novel's mature content and explicit scenes make it unsuitable for young readers. However, it is crucial to recognize that young adults are constantly exposed to a multitude of explicit material through various media channels. Shielding them from challenging literature like The Handmaid's Tale would be a disservice to their intellectual growth and moral compass. Instead, it is the responsibility of educators to guide them through these difficult themes, fostering empathy, critical thinking, and resilience in the face of adversity.
Moreover, Atwood's exquisite prose and intricate world-building captivate readers of all ages, rendering The Handmaid's Tale an exceptional literary work. The author's mastery lies not only in her ability to construct a believable dystopia but also in her apt portrayal of complex female characters. Through Offred's narrative, Atwood delves into the intricate layers of women's experiences, exposing the struggle for autonomy, agency, and identity. By examining these issues, the novel offers a powerful lens through which students can analyze and challenge societal norms and expectations.
Furthermore, The Handmaid's Tale promotes interdisciplinary learning, making it an invaluable addition to educational curricula. Its exploration of political science, sociology, feminism, and ethics provides a rich tapestry for students to examine and connect with other works of literature, history, and current events. By examining the world of Gilead, students can draw parallels to real-life struggles and engage in critical discourse about the present-day issues that echo the novel's themes.
Ultimately, The Handmaid's Tale challenges readers to confront uncomfortable truths, igniting a passion for social justice and inspiring them to become agents of change. Banning this novel from schools would be a disservice to the next generation, depriving them of an important literary masterpiece that encourages critical thinking, empathy, and awareness of the world around us
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