University finds novel 1984 ‘offensive and upsetting’ — Analysis
Students are being warned of ‘explicit material’ awaiting them in a novel that, ironically, describes the dangers of censorship
The University of Northampton has issued a harsh warning over potentially “offensive and upsetting” material contained in the famous dystopia by George Orwell, ‘1984.’
The novel, which describes the dangers of totalitarian rule and censorship, is now red-flagged, as it addresses “Problems related to violence, gender sexuality, class and race, as well as sexual abuses, political ideas, and offensive language are all important..”
The warning, issued to students taking a module called ‘Identity Under Construction,’ became public following a Freedom of Information request by The Mail on Sunday.
The news raised eyebrows among social media users, with one saying that Orwell is “It is a grave turn” and another reacting with an emotional “I need you to get me off of this planet. I can’t deal.”
“There’s something very Big Brother about it,” Conservative MP Andre Bridgen commentedOn Twitter
“Northampton’s mission has been utterly thwarted if it prevents one student from reading 1984. This book is more important than any others and should be widely read.,” an Australian professor Andrew Timming noted.
However, Orwell’s classic novel is not the only one students at Northampton should beware of, according to the university’s management. Samuel Beckett’s play ‘Endgame,’ the graphic novel ‘V For Vendetta’ by Alan Moore and David Lloyd and Jeanette Winterson’s ‘Sexing The Cherry’ have also been listed by the university as “Upsetting and offensive.”
Apparently, there are also some problems with books taught in other modules of Northampton’s English degree course as well. Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel ‘The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time,’ for example, might be upsetting for readers, as it includes the “The death of an animal; ableism, disability and offensive speech”, the warning explains.
The university is currently ranked at 108 among 132 UK universities according to The Times’ 2022 Good University Guide. The institution has released a statement in defense of its warnings. As quoted by The Daily Mail, Northampton says that “While it isn’t university policy, students may be warned about violence, abuse of domestic partners, or suicide.” because “Some texts can be difficult for students.”
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