Doom, Despair, and Agony on Me

“Doom, despair, and agony on me” were the cheery words that accompanied an old HeeHaw sketch in which two old coots in a corn field tried to outdo each other with their tales of woe. Funny in its hyperbole.

But in a recent discussion on the English Companion Ning, I asked, “Why is it that so many of our novels for middle and high schoolers deal with death?” Are those the only books worthy of study, or is it some weird fixation? Even this year’s Newbery Award Winner, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, seems to celebrate that theme (see book trailer below from HarperKids).

I received some profound and enlightening responses from my colleagues that are worth a read. If you’re not a member of the English Companion Ning yet, the sign-up is free and painless, and the collegial atmosphere is one you’ll enjoy.  And if you’re a teacher studying a novel in class that deals with death, be sure to weigh in on the discussion!


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