Thursday, September 30, 2010

Banned Books Week: A Wrinkle In Time

When I looked at the American Library Association's lists of top 100 banned books (by type), I have to tell you some of them really shocked me. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (#32), Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (#13), and Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park (#71) were among the many that completely perplexed me.

Another one that I just can't understand the banning of is A Wrinkle In Time' by Madeleine L'Engle (#90). I grew up on this book! I loved this book, adored this book, and cherished this book before I could even really understand what was going on in this book.

A Wrinkle in TimeWikipedia (the source for all accurate information) has this to say about the banning:
Reasons given include the book's references to witches and crystal balls (although the characters are not in fact witches, and the crystal ball is a science-fictional one), the claim that it "challenges religious beliefs", and the listing of Jesus "with the names of great artists, philosophers, scientists, and religious leaders".
Phewy--that's what I say. What happened to intellectual interpretation of literature? Do the people who ban books just throw that out the window? I'd like to see where on these lists Mein Kampf sits.

Anyway, about a Wrinkle In Time. Have you read it? If you haven't... how did you miss out!?
   "Meg looked. The dark shadow was still there. It had not lessened or dispersed with the coming of night. And where the shadow was the stars were not visible.
   What could there be about a shadow that was so terrible that she knew that there had never been before or ever would be again, anything that would chill her with a fear that was beyond shuddering, beyond crying or screaming, beyond the possibility of comfort?
   "That dark Thing we saw," she said. "Is that what my father is fighting?"
   "Yes," Mrs. Which said. "He is behind the darkness, so that even we cannot see him."
   Meg began to cry, to sob aloud.

. . .
   "My child, do not despair. Do you think we would have brought you here if there were no hope? We are asking you to do a difficult thing, but we are confident you can do it. Your father needs help, he needs courage, and for his children he may be able to do what he cannot for himself."
::insert demonic religion challenging laughter here::

Clearly a book worth banning. Right up there with The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien (#40).

Which brings me nicely to the song I picked out. My friend swore I couldn't use it in connection with A Wrinkle In Time because it was made for LOTR, but since I've read a large portion of the books on these banned lists it can be argued that I'm not exactly one for following convention.

Yes, that's me... banned book reader.

Enya has a song called 'May It Be' that was used in the Lord of the Rings movies, but I think it goes so well for Meg and her companions.
May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from home

Mornie utúlië (darkness has come)
Believe and you will find your way
Mornie alantië (darkness has fallen)
A promise lives within you now

May it be the shadows call
Will fly away
May it be you journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun
Lovely.

Now, I'm off to go read some more banned books, perhaps I'll start with Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (#22).

---

Books: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, Charlotte's Web by E. B. White, Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park, Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Music: May It Be by Enya

6 comments:

Sarah said...

Oh, how I loved A Wrinkle in Time when growing up! I really should read it again!! I was shocked that it was on the "banned" lists. Thanks for explaining why (not that I agree)!

Cari Hislop said...

The ban-a-book-brigade are people who think they can make the world safe by controlling others! Unsurprisingly, their attempts to "save us" always explode as their helpfulness enrages the rest of humanity. I find it staggering that so many people have never figured out that safety is an illusion. People who give up freedom for this illusion will always regret it!


Another singer/songwriter I think you'd like is Karine Polwart (particularly her album Scribbled in Chalk). She's Scottish with a sound like a strange mix of Cat Stevens at his best, Celtic Folk and soft rock. The words for Follow the Heron are so lovely!

Evelyn @ Hanging by a Silver Lining said...

That was one of my childhood favorites too. I still have my dog-earred copy packed in a box with Stuart Little, The Confession of Charlotte Doyle, Dragon's Blood, and The Other Side of the Mountain, among others.

My mom almost banned that book from me when I was reading it one night and came across the word "tentacles" but read it aloud as "testicles" asking her what "testicles" were. LOL!

Melissa said...

I heart Madeleine L'Engle. Last year I read as many banned books as I could during the month of September, 1 week just isn't enough. I'm not being as structured this year as I figure at least half of the books that are on my MUST READ list are banned/challenged books.

Jaleh D said...

I don't even bother with looking whether a book is "banned" or not. If the story sounds good, I read it. I suppose I ought to look up how many of my favorite books are on the bad-kids-of-literature list.

I loved a Wrinkle in Time when I was a kid. I discovered it because my 5th grade teacher had it in her classroom as a book we could borrow. The cover looked weird, but eventually I picked it up.

Jennifer said...

It takes something like Banned Books Week to make me realize just how many of my favorites are banned. And I about choked when I looked at this years list and realized the Junie B Jones books were on there. Then I laughed to realize I was buying my child banned books without realizing it. :D

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