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Home : 2004 : Nov : 27

    re:violence in writing
    By Another viewpoint

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    While I understand the concerns of the other posters regarding possible situations in the child's life, I see another possibility. I have found that too many of my students have been exposed to overly-violent themes in video games, movies, tv shows, even so-called "comic" books. When I was doing my student-teaching a number of years ago in a sixth-grade class, several students (also struggling or reluctant writers) tried to complete a writing assignment by basically reiterating the plot of a particularly gory video game. I made up my mind, then and there, that future assignments would carry the instructions that under no circumstances would I accept compositions that contained bloodshed, violence, gore and mayhem. In this world of violent times, my belief is that it is too easy a literary device to allow children to resort to it in their writing. Yes, it may be somewhat stifling to their creativity; however, I choose not to have to read and evaluate such work. Also, since often it amounts to a form of plagarism because the student is drawing upon ideas he/she has seen in video games, movies, etc. my intent is to require the children to use their own ideas. On several occasions, around Halloween, I have given assignments to write a scary story that has no bloodshed, violence, gore, or mayhem, but which creates a sense of scariness through foreshadowing, setting, character description, word choice, etc. At first the kids complain about the presumed difficulty of the task, but most then really get into it, resulting in some really good pieces of writing.

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