What do magical wands, George R.R. Martin, and the dark secrets of our subconscious have in common? We have no idea, but this teacher seems to see the connection.
In a post on the school’s blog, Graeme Whiting wrote concerning ‘The Imagination of the Child’. He cited The Hunger Games, Lord of The Rings, and Harry Potter “to mention only a few”, as sources of “deeply insensitive and addictive material which I am certain encourages difficult behaviour in children; yet they can be bought without a special licence, and can damage the sensitive subconscious brains of young children, many of whom may be added to the current statistics of mentally ill young children.”
Oh the havoc creative literature can wreak…
Whiting goes on to encourage parents to shield their children from this type of sensational reading, an appeal he attributes to flashy marketing tactics that capitalize on children that “do not have thinking brains until, at the earliest, fourteen years of age”. Rather than clogging these feeble unthinking minds with dangerous magical gunk, Whiting suggests parents fill their noggins with Shakespeare, Shelley, Keats and the likes instead.
Snaps for the Bard, but still, this seems a bit coercive and just a tad ridiculous. To boil mental illness down to reading choices, to cut creative writing down to cheap market tactics, and to reduce fantasy books to super highways that bring the dark corners of the subconscious into the light seems a bit drastic. It undermines psychology, writing, fantasy and general fun in one fell swoop.
An image of Miss Trunchbull is returning from our subconscious…
What about the creative ingenuity of the authors writing fiction? What about the outlets these books create for children, and the imagination it inspires? These authors have a mastery to their work, and their readers thirst to be a part of the worlds they create. If you’ve read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, you know the supernatural is just as central to the ‘classics’ as it is to Harry Potter, and the dystopias of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 just as rich in critique as that of The Hunger Games.
So why the bias when it comes to wizards and wands? Can’t there be a world where we can binge the entire Harry Potter series but also sing Shakespeare sonnets from the balcony like the finest of troubadours? We’d like to think so.
What do you think?
Featured image courtesy of Play Buzz