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Originally published: 2013-11-21 19:56:00
Last modified: 2013-11-29 13:24:16

Teach-in set on 'The House of the Spirits'

Two Appalachian State University departments have planned a "teach-in" and discussion of Isabel Allende's "The House of the Spirits," the subject of a book challenge occurring at Watauga High School.

The free event is planned from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in Belk Library, Room 114, and it intended "to explore the literary value of Allende's novel and the vital importance of book freedom," according to organizer Craig Fischer, an associate professor of English.

Fischer, the father of a WHS student, said he was disturbed that the book might be censored out of the sophomore honors curriculum, as his son read the book last year in the class and learned a lot from it.

"It's an important novel," Fischer said. "I understand that individual students and parents might prefer to avoid 'House' -- and teacher Mary Kent Whitaker offers an alternative book to those students and parents -- but it's unfair for a vocal minority of dissenters to impose their morality on the entire high school curriculum. Censorship is never the answer. Those of us participating in this teach-in are taking a stand in support of Allende, 'House' and book freedom."

The event is coordinated by the ASU Departments of English and Language, Literatures and Cultures. The teach-in will be hosted by ASU English professor Joseph Bathanti, the Poet Laureate of North Carolina, and will feature:

-- ASU faculty (including Catherine Fountain of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures) on the literary stature of Allende and "The House of the Spirits;"

-- WHS students and parents on the book challenge;

-- An "open mic" portion of the program where community members can speak;

-- Copies of the book for sale by the ASU Bookstore.