Reflection on English 02 Class

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Reflection on Spring 2018 French Charles’s English Class 

The subject English, in the first place, calls to mind countless articles and scholarly essays. I grow tired of English, having studied the subject from first grade to my first year in college. Two factors remained constant throughout all my English classes, lots of reading and writing.

Until this spring I take Doctor French Charles’s English class 02, it is designed for writing a research paper on one specific topic. Our focus is on book censorship. Throughout the course, I read books like Fahrenheit 451, The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Brave New World. We thoroughly and comprehensively analyze book censorship’s past and present, from political, religious and social perspectives. 1984 is a politically censored book due to the depiction of totalitarianism in a dystopian world. On the contrary, Brave New World describes an opposite scenario. The Age of Reason was banned in the 1900s primarily because of the principles of deism which were opposed by most of the Christian Churches. Also, we interview people on “if religion and science can be reconciled”, or if the two are mutually exclusive.

I am very honored to be one of the founding members of the Underground Library Society. It is Scavenger Hunt project involving posters hanging around campus. Other projects like short write-up practice and interviewing people from the south side of Bethlehem, helped me to comprehend book censorship history and motivates me to dig through topics, like “Can Science and Religion Reconcile” “Why is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone still controversial today”.

In a word, this English class was an exciting and informative adventure. I am very thankful to Dr. French Charles for being a unique and excellent teacher. I will carry the  passions and valuable experiences that I have gained in this class with me into everything I do, and I hope to pass them onto others as well.

 

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The Underground Library Society – 1984

The Underground Library Society is a collection of books from different places that are politically or socially controversial throughout the history. The objectives of the organization is to introduce one book that is intriguing and worth to be rediscovered. Each of us is required to draw a poster with a quote on the picture.

I choose the book 1984, a political science fiction, was first published in 1949 by George Orwell. He criticizes the current government system and mimic a future totalitarianism government in 1984 where people living in a highly censored country with no political freedom. A normal person with sense and consciousness, lives madly in the world of craziness. He cannot be completely accepted, unless he joins the party of the madness.

I made two posters about this book. One is a person who tightly closes his eyes. His mouth is taped with word “freedom”. On the bottom of the poster, it says “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.” Anther one has the same title with different quote ” the big brother is watching on you”, which is basically the same connotation that the society is being completely monitored by the invisible hands and government which its people cannot aware of it.

I found this project very interesting and unique since it provides another perspective in considering book and book censorship. Making a poster requires me to think about what specific element that the book shows that is considered as politically bias and skewed. I realize that 1984 is one of the best example of banned book in terms of political censorship because its theme matches the idea of political freedom and sedition. Thus, I think this project helps me better understanding the book itself and its history of censorship.

 

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Research on Political Reasons of Book Censorship

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During spring break, I started to think and get thoughts for the proposal and outline. After skimming tons of articles and sources on book censorship, I finally decide where to start and what to focus on for my first formal research paper.

The prompt for the paper is to find one reason that explained the book censorship. Racism accounts for the majority reason of censorship. In the early 80s in the U.S. racial discrimination in the Southern America prevalently dominated the society during the  antebellum. African American people did not enjoy the equal right as other people does and they cannot even publish their literature works. Slavery was a phenomenon and each household/farmer in the south was able to get African American as slave at a very cheap price. Book that depicted a peaceful life or friendship between black and white people were under a tremendous hit/blow and completely censored by the anti-black government. Book like Uncle Tom” Cabin and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn suffered from the prohibition of reading. This is where my thought came from, I started to do light research on both books and how is it reflect the societal turmoil in the 1800s. Then, it was clear that both Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe were the proponents of anti-slavery which strongly against the belief and the core value of the southern government. Therefore, from looking over the primary sources, I can expand the ideas of how government use censorship as a political means to influence the public since book and literature are powerful weapon that indirectly engulfs people’s soul.

My topic will accentuate on the political motivation of book censorship and books. Basically, I concentrate on how the authorities use censorship as leverage to enslave the public’s mindset and ideology through three detailed historical examples from different countries. Through the usage of three examples, it exemplifies to the governmental control and political purpose of censorship. Censorship still exists today in various form such as mass media. To understand the political intention of authorities today, it is necessary to have a comprehension of what had been done in the past.

 

Hailey’s first English blog post

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Hello everyone,

My name is Hailey Cai. I am an international student from China and currently a freshman, studying in Lehigh University.

I am taking Dr. Charles French’s English 002 class this spring semester. It is a course about literary analysis and critical thinking in regards to a writing research paper. The central focus is about censorship of literary books among the world.

We discuss the implication of banned books, which are prohibited from being published circulated on the basis of political, religious, and social grounds. For example “All Quiet on the Western Front, The Da Vinci Code, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” are all well-known prominent masterpieces that were banned in various nations around the world at previous time period.

I created this blog to both utilize what I learn in class, and encourage an open discussion about the nature of censorship. I welcome whoever visits my blog to leave comment and discuss with me.