Often the works society deems “great” are also controversial. Whether you love or hate the topics explored in these works, it’s hard not to be engaged. Students can benefit from exploring how the novel they recently read has been criticized, by whom, and for what reasons. By doing so, they have the background needed to form an educated opinion about the work and how to critique literature, as well as a greater interest in “the forbidden.”
This research project is designed as an after-reading assignment, but do make sure in your initial discussion and introduction of the work that you present the novel as a “banned book” and preview some of the reasons why parents and/or school officials brought complaints against the work. This gives the students a clear purpose for reading—evaluation of the author’s material and philosophy—and you’ll find it to be one of the few times students are actually are engaged in lecture material!