I’m a retired teacher. I know you can ban books, but not their ideas

I was mortified.

It was 1968 and my parents and I sat in the principal’s office. I didn’t do anything wrong. I was just reading a class-assigned book — One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. My mother was upset with the language in the book.

So there we sat. I looked down. Dad shifted in the chair. Mom pointed her gyrating finger at the principal. The principal nodded. In the end, I was assigned another book, but I read Ken Kesey’s book anyway. Why? Because once something is forbidden, it becomes desirable. It was a sad story but the novel’s “language” was appropriate because it expressed the anger and frustration of the characters. The novel explored life in a mental institution but became a metaphor for society. It challenged current thinking. I wasn’t any worse for reading it.

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