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Steadfast Madcap

Duke University Freshmen Skip Summer Reading Due to Religious Beliefs

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Wondering what people think of this. Having read the book in question, I think it's totally absurd that students would A. refuse to read it, and B. actually feel offended that they were assigned it. The entire point of going to university, especially a top 10 school like Duke, is to be intellectually challenged and exposed to people and beliefs that are new and different, some of which they may even -- gasp, horror -- disagree with! If they wanted an environment that would 100% reinforce their own beliefs, they could've chosen Liberty University or any of the other 100s of Christian colleges in the US. They are not acting like the adults they are, but rather sheltered and spoiled children.

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Why didn't he do what every other freshman does and just not read it? Or cliffsnotes it or something.

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Wondering what people think of this. Having read the book in question, I think it's totally absurd that students would A. refuse to read it, and B. actually feel offended that they were assigned it. The entire point of going to university, especially a top 10 school like Duke, is to be intellectually challenged and exposed to people and beliefs that are new and different, some of which they may even -- gasp, horror -- disagree with! If they wanted an environment that would 100% reinforce their own beliefs, they could've chosen Liberty University or any of the other 100s of Christian colleges in the US. They are not acting like the adults they are, but rather sheltered and spoiled children.

 

The main issue I see is that it has sexual images in it. Depending on your beliefs, I guess you might argue that something like that is like pornographic, therefore you can't read it. Quick Google Images search, and I guess some of it looks kind of graphic, although it is a cartoon, of course. The problem is, once you've seen an image like that, it's often hard to get it out of your head. So I can see why they might object to reading it, if that's an issue for them.

 

Do they have the right to say, "I'm not reading it"? I mean, sure, you can't force someone to read something. I'm taking English Literature, and it's not as if they check up on whether you've read the texts. They give you the list of set texts, and you go away and read them, and if you don't, then it's your responsibility. I take it their course is similar (although they described it as a "summer reading list", and I'm not entirely sure what that means as a course).

 

Could they request to read a different book? Sure, they could ask. I don't think there's really an obligation though for them to assign a different book, since presumably when they signed up for the course, they knew what kinds of books they'd be expected to read.

 

Steadfast, you've read it. Is it like Fifty Shades of Grey, or is it one or two vaguely sexual images? If it was just a book of cartoon porn, I'd say, fair enough if you want to complain it's too graphic and completely outside the usual for a literature course, but if it's just a book with a few scattered sexual depictions in it, then that's fairly standard.
 
I mean, just thinking back to the stuff I've had to read in university over the past three years. I've never read graphic novels with images, mind you, but I think written descriptions can be just as graphic. Generally, if they're too graphic, you just skip over them. Again, we're not talking Fifty Shades of Grey. But I've had to read books with descriptions of sex, sexual violence, and so on. Most books have at least something in them, depending on the time period you're reading. That's standard for any adult literature course. It's not like this was assigned to a high school.
 
So...Yeah, unless the book is outrageously graphic, then I can't say it's anything other than what you'd expect from an average literature course. I would say, yeah, they can obviously decide not to read it. But I think being offended by being asked to read it, yeah, that's a bit much. I've read books that had anti-Catholic slants (besides ones written during, for example, the Reformation), and that doesn't mean in and of itself they're attacking Catholics. It just means they've assigned it for discussion. Just from what's said in the article, it doesn't seem like they were deliberately "attacking" Christian students.
 

 

Why didn't he do what every other freshman does and just not read it? Or cliffsnotes it or something.

 

lol! I'm not kidding, I know a girl who told me in second year, "Oh, I really liked this. It's the first text I've actually read all the way through since the course began," and she was referring to a 104-page play (and for a play with lots of dialogue, that's not very long at all).

 

xxx

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The main issue I see is that it has sexual images in it. Depending on your beliefs, I guess you might argue that something like that is like pornographic, therefore you can't read it. Quick Google Images search, and I guess some of it looks kind of graphic, although it is a cartoon, of course. The problem is, once you've seen an image like that, it's often hard to get it out of your head. So I can see why they might object to reading it, if that's an issue for them.

 

I hope they never go to an art museum then.  ;)

 

Steadfast, you've read it. Is it like Fifty Shades of Grey, or is it one or two vaguely sexual images? If it was just a book of cartoon porn, I'd say, fair enough if you want to complain it's too graphic and completely outside the usual for a literature course, but if it's just a book with a few scattered sexual depictions in it, then that's fairly standard.

 

I actually pulled out my copy and flipped through it. :D Out of 232 pages, I counted less than 10 that depict any nudity or sexuality. Even then, about half of the scenes that do depict nudity are completely non-sexual. And the scenes that are sexual don't seem to be drawn for the purposes of titillating the audience (like Fifty Shades' entire purpose is) but rather to depict important parts of the author's life. The vast, vast majority of it is about her childhood and her family. Kind of an aside, but I actually did read Fifty Shades during my time in college (though I chose to read it for a paper, it wasn't assigned) so I can definitely assure you that Fun House is an entirely different caliber of storytelling!  :lol:

 

As a history student, I've often had to read/watch things for my college classes that are entirely despicable (like Birth of a Nation, a 3 hour long pro-KKK film from the early 20th century), so that is probably part of while I have very little sympathy for students refusing to read something that violates their beliefs.

 

 

lol! I'm not kidding, I know a girl who told me in second year, "Oh, I really liked this. It's the first text I've actually read all the way through since the course began," and she was referring to a 104-page play (and for a play with lots of dialogue, that's not very long at all).

 

Why didn't he do what every other freshman does and just not read it? Or cliffsnotes it or something.

 

Wow, you guys were spoiled!  :P My college had extremely small classes that were entirely discussion based, so it would soon become really obvious if you had not finished the reading at the appropriate time, and your grade in the class would suffer pretty horrendously as a result.... The reading was usually at a rate of about an entire novel per week, too....

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The reading was usually at a rate of about an entire novel per week, too....

 

Last year, I usually had at least two novels a week. One week, I remember I had three, and two of them were Romantic literature novels that were pretty long and hard to read. So I think the people who took our seminar classes were pretty lenient with you, as long as you'd at least read some of the texts. But no, I remember not reading The Faerie Queene because it was just obscenely long and boring and I had other stuff to read those weeks (two seminars). So I just decided to prioritise and read the stuff I thought I'd actually use in the essays/exam. Most nerve-racking seminars of my life. "So, what did everyone think of The Faerie Queene?"  :mellow:  :unsure:  :superwaiter:

 

Saying that, we had an extract of the text to close read in groups, and I just said, "That looks like a disparaging reference to Extreme Unction for the anti-Catholic Elizabethan audience," and I just elaborated on what Last Rites were and the whole faith vs. faith+works thing, and I came off looking like I really knew the text and had done the research when really I was just talking about Catholicism.

 

xxx

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Saying that, we had an extract of the text to close read in groups, and I just said, "That looks like a disparaging reference to Extreme Unction for the anti-Catholic Elizabethan audience," and I just elaborated on what Last Rites were and the whole faith vs. faith+works thing, and I came off looking like I really knew the text and had done the research when really I was just talking about Catholicism.

 

Ah, but that's the key. Focus on what you know really well, and you can get by with not having read the rest. I've taken some extremely demanding literature courses too, and I confess that a certain amount of the time, I didn't read the books. For one of my exams, I had to discuss Les Filles du Feu by Gérard de Nerval, which has a lot of romantic elements in it, including an exploration of the opposition between nature and culture. The scene I focused on most was about a festival with Pagan roots, so of course I jumped on the occasion to talk about that, seemed really knowledgeable, and got a good mark :P

 

To get back to the topic, I've had to read a lot of books that disagreed with my world view or beliefs as well. I still read them, even if they annoyed me. From your description, Steadfast, Fun House doesn't seem that bad at all. If it was chock-full of graphic sex scenes, I'd understand, but if there's only 5 or so and they're not particularly titillating, it makes the people refusing to read them sound a bit childish, in my opinion. Not all sex is pornography. Reading about sex between two consenting adults can even be useful, in that it teaches you the difference between sex for the sake of character development (or emotions, i.e. most sex in real life) and sex for the sake of sex (pornography), and forces you to face the reality that yes, it's a part of life, and you can't be squeamish about it forever.

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I also read Fun House for a college class. I would not recommend it for Christians if they have a choice. I felt very uncomfortable reading it and wished it was shorter so I wouldn't have to go on with it anymore. That being said, I knew that I had to read it for class and I did finish it. College prepares you for a career and in a career, you will have to do things that make you uncomfortable and as long as no one is forcing you to personally do something against your belief, you will have to encounter things that you don't agree with. 

 

So basically, if you're a Christian and not required to read this book, don't. But if you are, then suck it up and read it and you can learn about other people who don't see things the way you do. 

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Wow, you guys were spoiled!  :P My college had extremely small classes that were entirely discussion based, so it would soon become really obvious if you had not finished the reading at the appropriate time, and your grade in the class would suffer pretty horrendously as a result.... The reading was usually at a rate of about an entire novel per week, too....

 

I should specify that the "Summer reading" for my school (a huge school) wasn't done through any class. We were notified at some point that all incoming freshman were to read Into the Wild as our Summer reading, and then we were split up into groups of like 10 at registration/orientation day and discussed the book for a little bit. So yeah, I think everyone just watched the movie  :D

 

In later classes I generally read the material, though I never had to read the amount that you and Jegsy did though...Jeez. Of course, I was in engineering and only had a couple writing/literature classes.

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I agree with what people have posted. I think a university (religious or otherwise) is supposed to challenge you intellectually. That could mean introducing you to ideas or concepts that you may or may not agree with. A TA once told my class that a university education "teaches you how to learn." From my own university experience, I was challenged intellectually. For example, I remember reading  Friedrich Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality. As a Christian, his work was difficult to read. However, reading his work,  helped me develop my personal  philosophy of religion. 

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Boo hoo. These kids are entitled. Welcome to the REAL world. I had to read and do things I hate, but I still had to do them. Duke isn't a christian college. If they wanted a christian education then they've should've chose a christian school.

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But I think they have to really give something that p*sses off everyone, like an extremely violent novel including cannibalism, just saying, so that they can fuel the creativity of such students, and that they can increase tolerance, too. I would actually like to read such novels, especially when I want to p*ss both parties off, not just one side. Seriously.

I do not discriminate when p*ssing people. :sarcasm:

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But I think they have to really give something that p*sses off everyone, like an extremely violent novel including cannibalism, just saying, so that they can fuel the creativity of such students, and that they can increase tolerance, too. I would actually like to read such novels, especially when I want to p*ss both parties off, not just one side. Seriously.

 

Well, we did read Katherine Dunn's Geek Love as part of our course. You could try that. It's got rape, incest, murder, fetish strip clubs, people purposely deforming their children for monetary purposes, dead babies in jars of preservatives, a cult in which people cut off their own limbs to achieve spiritual enlightenment, and of course, biting the heads off of live chickens. I think everyone felt sick reading that one.

 

Actually, if you can get past all of that, it's a pretty enjoyable read. Although i think I skimmed over quite a few sections of it...

 

xxx

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Well, we did read Katherine Dunn's Geek Love as part of our course. You could try that. It's got rape, incest, murder, fetish strip clubs, people purposely deforming their children for monetary purposes, dead babies in jars of preservatives, a cult in which people cut off their own limbs to achieve spiritual enlightenment, and of course, biting the heads off of live chickens. I think everyone felt sick reading that one.

Actually, if you can get past all of that, it's a pretty enjoyable read. Although i think I skimmed over quite a few sections of it...

xxx

Wow! But when people get past them, they get an even stronger hold on their morals and views. I have never read the book myself, though, but some of these books make us aware of certain things going on, in the world, and some people's mindsets. But, the curriculum should not be biased against Christians; if they are going to p*ss off someone, they should, at least, not discriminate. In that case, the novels should include pedophilia, extremely descriptive violence, pain, blood and gore, slow deaths, incest, abuse, the win of the bad guy, etc. Now this is how colleges should stay unbiased.

The mysterious man, with a grin on his face, suddenly rubbed Twinkle's head; she seemed to be scared, but could not run against the hold of him. His other hand was searching for something; it quickly got a hold on it. He pulled it; he quickly swirled that scarlet-stained metal, to make her two - and to make her blood spring through her headless neck, akin to water seeping through a mountain. A moment later, he kicked her head; it painted the floor red, rolling the next moment to Penny, announcing her turn to pass away.

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