A lot of what we spent talking about in the last day of class was about things I know the 'verse has discussed in detail - the choice between Gale and Peeta and her own insecurities about returning home and what she'll face - so I'll jump straight to the second half of the class.
Do you remember the WSJ article about the darkness in teen literature?
Yeah, we talked about that.
A lot was talked about the "cherry-picking evidence" in the article; a lot of it didn't make sense in context of what is actually A lit.
But most importantly, we talked about if young adult literature was actually dark.
My teacher's reply: "Isn't all 'literature' dark?"
Students in high school read Shakespeare, which ranges from murder and kids committing suicide (Romeo and Juliet) to rape and cannibalism (Titus Andronicus).
We decided what makes so many adults scared of the idea of teens reading 'darker' YA lit is the fact that they, supposedly, don't have control over the content.
Chart regarding the mind of the fearful adult.
But aren't teenagers smart enough to know otherwise? We're teaching them how to think and learn independently. They watch something on TV; if they're as smart as they claim to me, they're not going to go out and do it just because it's there. Perhaps because it's books, they feel like it's more official -- but honestly, if your kid is voluntarily picking up books, aren't they already a bit smart?
"I feel like [the author of the WSJ article] must forget what it feels like to be a teen."
It was universally decided among the class that reading something wasn't to decide to do something; it was a surrogate experience. (Hence why people get so attached to characters in books. But that is a post for another day.)
And while there are social ramifications to read - decisions on how you're going to interact with people, who you're going to interact with - the ideology that they're going to do something is silly.
Perhaps, we thought, we're trapped in the culture of an older generation - one that doesn't have as much communication between its parents and children and one that comes from a privileged and naive way of thinking. And it doesn't account for personal taste - just because somebody enjoys reading something doesn't mean that they're going to do it.
The final conclusion on the class, and on young adult literature, and on this article, came down to a series of questions that I, dear reader, leave you with:
How is our taste in literature formed?
And most importantly, when it comes to discussing YA, especially in articles like that, remember: "Where are the readers?"
Did you miss a class?: