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Fallen Angels By Walter Dean Myers
Transcript of Fallen Angels By Walter Dean Myers
Challenged in 2001 by Arlington Junior High School
for "strong" content
Banned in 2002 for racism, use of offensive language and for being unsuited to specific age groups
Banned in VA libraries in 2003
Banned in Fraklin High School (IL) for concerns of profanity
Challenged by school districts in both 2005, and 2006
Recently challenged by Danbury Middle School in Ohio for uses of profanity.
Grows up in Harlem
Dreams of being a writer and going to college
gives up dreams to join the army and provide
support for his family.
While in the war, Perry goes through many
struggles and hardships. He sees friends killed, civilians tortured and other horrific things. He himself is shot and wounded. These events are all described in vivid detail.
Throughout the book there are lots of
terms used such as "nip" that can be deemed as offensive. Offensive terms towards homosexuals are used as well. Also, the soldiers curse on a regular basis throughout the entire book.
I argue that censoring or banning this novel because of its use of profanity is ridiculous. It is a novel about the Vietnam War, of course there is going to be graphic descriptions, cursing and other offensive things throughout. No one ever said war was pretty! Anyone reading this book looking to become offended will do so.
The use of profanity in the book adds to the readers experience. To replace the cursing with more child friendly language would not give the reader the same accurate effect.
Writer Patty Campbell of the Horn Book Magazine discusses this topic in her article "The Potty mouth Paradox." In her article she focuses largely on the censorship of the "f-word" and the effects it has on the authors. She says that to replace these words is simply opting for dishonesty.
Campbell, Patty. "The Pottymouth Paradox." The Horn Book May-June 2007: 311-15. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
Beth Murray writes in her article "Defending Fallen Angels By Walter Dean Myers-Framing Not Taming" that when reading this book, one needs look past the profanity to see the book for what it really is. An entertaining novel that is accurate and gives students a view of the War through the eyes of a fictional character.
Murray, Beth. “Defending Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers: Framing—Not Taming-- Controversy.” Censored Books II: Critical Viewpoints, 1985-2000. Ed. Nicholas J. Karolides. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2002. 167-172. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
Walter Dean Myers intentionally used profanity in his book to give the readers a certain feel. He realized the potential for being challenged or banned when choosing to write about the Vietnam War, however, that did not stop him.
Another issue in Fallen Angels is racial slurs and terms used towards the African American population. These terms are not meant to offend African Americans, considering Myers himself is an African American male. They are used to bring awareness to the conditions faced by the black soldiers on the front lines.
The bottom line is, Fallen Angels
should not be banned or censored
because it is a inspiring novel that
portrays the events of the Vietnam
War in accurate detail, while providing
a different perspective on the conflict.
Anyone who is offended by the books
material should simply not have chosen
to read a book on such a harsh topic
as the Vietnam War.
Connelly, Deborah S. "To Read or Not To Read: Understanding Book Censorship." Community & Junior College Libraries 15.2 (2009): 83-90. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.
Myers, Walter Dean. Fallen Angels. New York: Scholastic, 1988. Print.