With this resource for high school teachers, I argue that banning The Bluest Eye in an 11th and 12th grade Advanced Placement setting is an unproductive way to guide the student learning process; banning this novel at that time is especially detrimental because it takes away from a student_s right to learn how to question and respond to complex situations that plague reality. If we do not teach students this book or others like it, which ultimately force individuals to leave their comfort zones, how will they expand their minds and learn to become independent thinkers? Many teachers feel that they do not have enough support to justify the teaching of banned books (Henly 14). This Independent Study project is, again, a resource itself, and it illustrates the vast amount of tools there are to help guide this process. It is possible, then, to teach controversial literature, giving students the right to equal educational opportunities. Part One of this project is my literature review. I paraphrase much of what already has been researched on the history of censorship and banning and the various pieces of literature that have been banned throughout history. I investigate cases from a variety of schools throughout the United States, showing that banning is not an isolated process; it happens everywhere. Examining the information that is already available allows me to show what my project adds to both the literary and educational fields. I briefly touch on classic texts such as Ulysses by James Joyce and work toward more contemporary texts such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I incorporate these banning cases, along with a discussion on the legalities of banning in order to show the 2 wide range of banning incidents that have occurred and to expose their potentially detrimental effects on the student learning process. Part Two is a section of three local teachers_ responses to banning as well as other documented voices of teachers who have handled situations with banned books. Part Three is my reader-response section. I formulate my own response to Toni Morrison's novel, The Bluest Eye, while incorporating the responses of 12th grade A.P. English students who currently attend my high school alma mater, Chaney High School in Youngstown, Ohio. By analyzing the novel, I show the reasoning behind the methodologies used within my lesson plan on The Bluest Eye. Finally, Part Four is my section on teaching The Bluest Eye. I use the aforementioned methods with students at Chaney High School, allowing me to put my overall argument into a practical situation.


Wingard, Leslie



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2009 Kristen Bielik