Discussion 6: Innocence Lost? (UX3)

Childhood and adolescence are social and scientific constructs that define a biological reality. As children grow into adulthood, we award them a status reserved specifically for adults: the right to drive, vote, drink, etc.  Contemporary American society tends to ascribe certain values to childhood that shape the way we treat children; specifically, the value of "innocence" shapes much of behavior we have towards children. Children (and adolescents), in order to remain innocent, are to be shielded from sexuality, violence, drugs and alcohol, hard physical labor, and other things deemed "adult."  Innocence, in that case becomes a kind of ignorance.

How often do we stop to really think about whether that's the right approach? Should children and adolescence be shielded from knowledge of the adult world?

Read the following articles and then answer the questions below:

"Has Young Adult Fiction Become Too Dark?"  by Mary Elizabeth Williams in Salon.

 "Teens Crave Young Adult Books on Really Dark Topics (And That's OK)" by Gale Forman in Time Magazine

What do you think of contemporary ideas of childhood and adolescence? Do you think that Williams or Forman are right? Should young adult fiction be sanitized of its violent tendencies? How much shelter should American youth be granted?

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