Blog #1: Discussion Questions and Paragraph About Two Quotes

Summary

Discussion Questions:
1. On page 79, Daniels cites the part of Terry Davis’ article “On the Question of Integrating Young Adult Literature Into The Mainstream” in which he states how “‘publishers need to create a specific category for books that can be read by adults and youth, books that have both literary and teaching merit.’” In response to this quote, Daniels mentions that “while publishers may not be willing to start yet another marketing category, critics can, through individual analyses of works, reveal exactly which titles belong in this area [i.e., the young adult literature genre], just as they do with other ‘adult’ contemporary works.” (79) Which side would you say that you’re on? Do you think that creating another category of literature just to make young adult literature easier for critics to identify or do you believe that critics should just put more effort into examining what makes young adult literature so unique? Explain why you chose the position that you did.
2. When Daniels gives the idea that young adult literature writing has “significance to all of us, regardless of what age category we fall into, because they speak to the human condition”, do you believe that she’s trying to say that young adult literature applies to all age groups because of how relatable they are or do you have a different interpretation and if so, what (79)?
3. Daniels, on pages 80-81, discusses how various young adult books can be “explored theoretically” thanks to any underlying themes or social and cultural ideologies hidden within them. In addition to the books Daniels mentioned such as The Goats and Holes, what other young adult books have you read in the past that you believed contained underlying themes or social and cultural ideologies within them and what particular themes or social and cultural ideologies were they?
4. What other methods of legitimizing young adult literature do you have in addition to the ones mentioned by Daniels and what about these methods do you believe make them so efficient?

Quote 1: “What would help in this regard would be not only for critics to recognize the difference between the genres, but to simply acknowledge that regardless of genre both children’s and YA works are literature.” (Daniels, 78)
Quote 2: “For example, the genre of YA literature can be examined as a way to analyze the underlying class ideology of a work, without the text being specifically ‘about’ class conflict.” (Daniels, 80)

The first quote I chose from Daniels’ article was interesting to me since it gave me the idea that even though the purpose of genre is to understand what kind of book I’m about to read, I shouldn’t put children’s literature and young adult literature in a genre hierarchy to determine how significant each one is compared to the other. The works categorized within these two genres are still works of literature that writers put a lot of effort into and with that in mind, they should be viewed with equal significance despite the fact that the works categorized within these two genres are technically intended for younger audiences. I also found the second quote I chose interesting due to how it taught me that works of young adult literature can have certain undertones hidden within them while the texts themselves can still tell the stories that they want to tell. In hearing this, I was amazed to discover just how dedicated the works of young adult literature can be when using the “show-don’t-tell” method of storytelling, especially since I personally believe that’s the best way to tell a story.

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2 thoughts on “Blog #1: Discussion Questions and Paragraph About Two Quotes

  1. Mariajose Bisbal-Villegas (she/they)

    1. Thomas states “…it was not effective for me as a young African American professor without an Ivy League background and with black, urban, working-class midwestern accent..”, this being said her students did not respect her/ questioned her ability to teach due to this. Put yourself in the shoes of those students, would you as a student if asked to be more open-minded to “diversify” your texts, would you question your professor?

    2. Natalie Woodridge asks the following questions:

    “Who is silenced (and heard) here?
    Whose interests might best be served by this text?
    What ideological positions can you identify?
    What are the possible readings of this situation/event/character? How did you get to that reading?
    What moral or political position does reading support? How do particular cultural and societal contexts make particular readings available (e.g., who could you not say that to)? How might it be challenged? (qtd. in Botelho and Rudman 4)”

    Do you think all English professors should ask these questions after reading YA text or some form of diverse/controversial reading?

    3. As English critics, how can we decipher YA text/literature with a neutral outlook? Meaning, how can we agree or disagree with the diverse and uncomfortable questions a text may raise?

    Quote 1: “For more than thirty years, annual reports from the University of Wisconsin’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center have revealed deep and persistent inequalities in the number of books for children and young adults featuring characters of color and native characters (“Publishing Statistics”).” (Thomas, 63)

    Quote 2: “Understanding how readers make sense of diversity, difference, and power is a key function of teaching YA literature today.” ( Thomas, 68)

    In the first quote, Thomas brings up the point that YA literature is always changing. Now in the 21 century, POC is finally being included as the main character in YA literature, which is very impacted for the newer generations. But the issue of the number of novels being published to focus on and engage POC readers is still big. POC in novels is usually perceived as a side character or “white-washed” when it comes to YA literature. And if POC is the leading role it’s usually along the lines of the same plot or struggles. YA literature needs to be more inclusive in order for POC to feel that they too can relate to the novel as NON-POC can do regularly. In the second quote, Thomas makes a good point in asking this question. Readers today are divided, either they relate to the novel or they don’t. And when the novel mentions or involves issues such as mental health, racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism it becomes a problem or worse not a problem at all. NON-POC like to say they are aware of the racism and non inclusiveness of POC in YA literature but when it comes to speaking up about feeling empathy or understanding POC discomfort, not a word is said. In order for NON-POC to understand POC’s perspective, it needs to be taught earlier on by English professors. When stories about POC are introduced, it’s usually in a class about urban studies, African studies, Latinos studies, women and gender studies, but never just a regular literature class. The reason I chose both quotes is that they tie hand in hand, without novels that perceive POC in the right matter, then there is no way to teach/ make NON-POC readers understand their struggles.

  2. Labiba Rahman (She/her)

    Discussion Questions: The Hate You Give
    1.) Starr Carter is only 12 years old when her parents decide to give her two major talks. The first talk is about the birds and the bees, a talk commonly given to kids her age. The second talk is much more serious. She is told exactly what to do if a cop ever stops her, so that she doesn’t get arrested or shot (no matter her age), for just being Black. Many parents are unsure whether to expose their children to the kind of content deemed too mature/dark/violent for a 12-year-old to experience. However, the continuous mistreatment of Black people can only gain social awareness if young people are shown what some of their peers may have to go through on a day-to-day basis. At what age should a child start getting exposed to more sensitive issues?

    2.) From reading the text Starr is shown to be a character who is constantly dealing with identity issues. Since she is in such a transitional period of time where she had already gone through a great deal of trauma from the loss of her two childhood friends and is now coming face to face with the terms that Khalil might never receive true justice because he is Black, Starr is just now learning how to find her voice. Because she had grown up in two different types of lifestyles she doesn’t know where to fit in and constantly feels out of place in both. She even states how she makes sure to change her speech patterns with “other” people so that no one would ever make the assumption that she is ghetto. Was there ever a time that you were made to feel like you weren’t enough for a certain group of people and had to put on an act so that people would accept you?

    3.) After Khalil is dead Starr begins to find out a great deal of information about Khalil that she is surprised about. First is that he became a drug dealer selling the same things that his mother is addicted to. Another is that he had become one of the “king lords”. Starr expresses her anger and disappointment in her old friend selling drugs because it felt like a sort of hypocrisy on his part since he was playing a part in potentially ruining a family. However, his actions are in a way justified because it felt like he had no choice. Minimum wage jobs weren’t going to pay the bills or support his grandma’s cancer treatment. For a Black teenager his options were already limited to begin with, so he probably felt trapped in his situation. Was Khalil justified in his actions and if not, what other pathways may he have taken?

    4.) Starr faces racial stereotyping in her private school even among her two closest friends. Racial remarks, and silent forms of disapproval of Starr’s support with the Black community is especially prevalent in her friend Hailey’s actions. When Starr tries to express that Hailey’s, racist remark made her uncomfortable she is made to feel like she is overreacting. Racist stereotyping still exists today no matter what actions were done to try to abolish it. What can be done to combat racial stereotyping and not make Black people feel as if their struggle is not real?

    Quote 1: “’Pac said Thug Life stood for ‘The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody’… ‘Meaning what society give us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out’”. (12)
    Quote 2: “’You think the cops want Khalil to have justice?’ I ask…The truth casts a shadow over the kitchen—people like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right”. (30)

    The first quote is one of the last conversations that Khalil and Starr have before he is shot. I think it is important because of its significance in providing inspiration for the title of this novel, and how closely it ties in with the theme of the novel. The full phrase “The hate you give little infants fucks everybody” is explaining how society is the root of the problem in all the issues that Black people have to face since as early as birth. When those same children finally grow older after witnessing their families and friends constantly being abused by the police system, the government and society as a whole, they are finally at the breaking point where they rebel and seek revenge. Even peaceful protests are met with harsh repercussions purely on the assumption that their forces joined together will be too dangerous to go against. After seeing their parents by the rules and still get targeted, many of the youth had just give up on trying to play it safe. At the end of the day, it is the perpetuators who are the reason for ensuing turmoil. The second quote felt important because it just was able to capture the pure desperation Starr was feeling while she talked to her father that perhaps Khalil will actually receive the justice that he deserves and that it won’t just end with another hashtag as it always does. In these types of situations, the police always seemed to be getting out of the situation without getting arrested or receiving any type of punishment whatsoever.

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