Tag: punishment

punishment

Reading as Punishment

It’s been a difficult week. The fire at Notre Dame. The scare at Columbine. The Mueller Report. North Korea, again. How about a little good news? “Graffiti punished by reading – ‘It worked!’ says prosecutor.” https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-47936071 The gist of the story is that a group of adolescent students spray-painted hate language and racial slurs on a small schoolhouse in Virginia where black children were once taught during segregation. An insightful lawyer, Prosecutor and Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Alejandra Rueda, didn’t rush to judgment. Instead, she considered the immaturity of the graffiti and concluded it was the work of “dumb teenagers.” She recommended to a judge that their ignorance be punished by a sentence that required them to read a book each month from a list of thirty-five books she drafted and report on it. Here are twelve of the books on the list: Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou The Tortilla Curtain – T C Boyle The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 12 Years a Slave – Solomon Northup The Crucible – Arthur Miller Cry the Beloved Country – Alan Paton My Name is […]

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Best Punishment Ever?

Thriller writers are necessarily consumed with crime and punishment. Who gets off? Who gets caught? Is the killer murdered or sent to prison? Does he or she go free? Our novels are our worlds where we can deliver justice as we see fit, or as we believe it is doled out in real life.  Perhaps this obsession with punishment is one of the reasons that I was drawn to this NPR story: Teens Who Vandalized Historic Schoolhouse With Swastikas Sentenced To Reading. It has been shown that reading fiction improves the ability to empathize, perhaps because it encourages individuals to get into the mind of a character whose circumstances are undoubtedly different from their own. What better way to rehabilitate teenage perpetrators of non-violent hate crimes than by encouraging them to empathize with the people whom they had targeted? The teens were sentenced to go to the Holocaust museum and write a book report per month from a reading list curated by the judge. The books include Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Khaled Hosseini’s Kite Runner, and Richard Wright’s Native Son. I’ve read all of these and loved them. Two I read in high school and I think they definitely gave me more of […]

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