Posted by Word Camel on May 07, 2003
In Reply to: Elderly Man and the Sea posted by ESC on May 06, 2003
: : All of these have been banned from American text books. Here's a link to an interesting book that investigates how this happens.
: I'd like to read that book. Here's part of an article on the same subject:
: The Elderly Man and the Sea? Test Sanitizes Literary Texts
: Sun Jun 2, 3:08 PM ET
: By N. R. KLEINFIELD The New York Times
: At first, Jeanne Heifetz thought she had merely tripped over one of those quirks that occasionally worm their way into standardized tests. Words were missing from a book excerpt she was familiar with on a Regents English exam. But when she discovered a second extensively altered excerpt, she began to wonder, "If there were two, could there be more?" Was something sinister afoot?
: So, driven by curiosity and her antipathy to the exams, she rounded up a batch of recent Regents tests, which New York State requires public high school students to take to graduate, and started double-checking the excerpts that serve as the basis for questions. What she found astonished her.
: In a feat of literary sleuth work, Ms. Heifetz, the mother of a high school senior and a weaver from Brooklyn, inspected 10 high school English exams from the past three years and discovered that the vast majority of the passages drawn from the works of Isaac Bashevis Singer, Anton Chekhov and William Maxwell, among others had been sanitized of virtually any reference to race, religion, ethnicity, sex, nudity, alcohol, even the mildest profanity and just about anything that might offend someone for some reason. Students had to write essays and answer questions based on these doctored versions versions that were clearly marked as the work of the widely known authors.
: In an excerpt from the work of Mr. Singer, for instance, all mention of Judaism is eliminated, even though it is so much the essence of his writing. His reference to "Most Jewish women" becomes "Most women" on the Regents, and "even the Polish schools were closed" becomes "even the schools were closed." ...