I was saddened yesterday when I read that A Brave New World was removed from from the reading list of a high school just several blocks away from where I live. The majority of the story may be found here for those of you interested. I won't reiterate what is written there, but one thing that really angered me was how quickly the book was removed from the school's reading list because of an objection from a single student and parent.
The offended parent objected to the way Aldous Huxley referred to the outcasts of mainstream society as "savages." Huxley uses this word frequently through the book to describe story's only real protagonist – a philosophic, independent-thinking barbarian who happens to run around quoting Shakespeare. He also happens to be the only likeable character of the novel – savage indeed!
In the course of entirely missing Huxley's gift for irony and decomposition of the problems of a me-centered society, this parent and child team have succeeded in removing a masterpiece from the school's curriculum. What shocked me the most about this is how little the school district did to actually intercede and justify their reasoning for removing a classic from the reading list. Likely fearing a lawsuit, the HS decided it was just easier to remove it and move on.
In place of Brave New World, here are several books that should be added to the reading list for Nathan Hale High School. In our culture's continuing rebellion against intellectualism and independent thinking, I think the following works of fiction will fit in quite well. If you don't believe they're classics, just look at how many people have purchased them – they must be good!
Decision Points – #1 NY Times Best Seller List Nov 2010
Broke – #3 NYTimes Best Seller Nov 2010
Going Rogue – #1 NYTimes Best Seller on Dec 2009.