Gordon Parks' Novel, The Learning Tree Essay examples
The most recent challenge of The Learning Tree occurred in 2003, when, "After receiving complaints that the book The Learning Tree was too sexually explicit, Alexandria Senior High School's principal had it banned from a freshman English course" (Associated Press 1).
The reasons given for the challenges against Parks' novel are all legitimate in that the novel does contain obscene language, violence, and sexual content. For example, words like "bastard," "son-of-a-bitch," and "goddamn" are used throughout the novel. Towards the end of the novel, the character Marcus shouts, "You son-of-a-bitch! You black bastard! I'm gonna cut your fuckin' heart out" (Parks 228)!
Parks graphically describes violent acts, such as the shooting deaths of several characters and the brutal rape of Newt's aunt. Newt's friend Earl is hit by a train, and loses his foot, an event graphically described by the author. This would seem like gratuitous violence, however, since much of the novel is based off of the author's own experience, one is led to believe that Parks witnessed a similar event, which inspired Earl's misfortune. To claim that events that occur within the realm of reality are obscene is to claim that reality itself is obscene, which is an absurd assertion. Parks