Mukilteo schools right to remove ‘Mockingbird’ from list

As I understand the article, the Mukilteo School District is not banning the book, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” they are merely removing it from the list of required reading for the ninth grade (“‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is no longer required reading in Mukilteo,” The Herald, Jan. 24). It will still remain available for teachers to use in their individual classrooms if they so choose.

I agree.

Considering all the issues mentioned in the article and the outcry over removing it, I suggest that you first read the book. The language is extremely complicated to navigate and if you have no familiarity with the Deep South of the 1930s, you will find yourself lost and missing the point, because Harper Lee doesn’t exactly explain it as she writes about southern attitudes.

Keeping this book is like keeping “Lord of the Flies” on the required list. Both are irrelevant to today’s students and unnecessary when there are other more accessible books that address the issues of today’s racism much more effectively. It is very important that when teaching literature, students can feel a connection to that literature. The racism of the Deep South of 1930 does not meet that goal. While history is important in terms of understanding the path of racism, it is much more critical that our high school students feel a connection to their literature and can see the lessons in a contemporary way. Such an approach will serve to engender their appreciation of the written word in a book rather than making them feel tortured to just “get through it.”

While in the midst of this curriculum review, The Mukilteo School District should also consider removing “Pygmalion” from the seniors’ required reading list and instead analyze the original story of Galatea rather than imposing the 1920s mindset of George Bernard Shaw and his attitude toward a woman who should fetch his pipe and slippers to be a useful member of society. Surely there are other more inviting texts to discuss misogyny and classism.

Kaitlan Colladay


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