Set during the years of turmoil after the Civil War, Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” is considered an American treasure by many. Morrison begins the novel in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1873. One of the leading characters, Sethe, a former slave, has been living with her eighteen-year-old daughter Denver.
As readers learn about Sethe’s harrowing journey out of slavery, they experience the horrors many faced during the period. Having garnered the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and a 1993 Nobel Prize in literature for Morrison, it is a classic; however, a white woman in Virginia who is seeking to have the book removed from Fairfax County Schools disagrees.
Laura Murphy, a mother of four, said that the book gave her eldest son nightmares after he read it for his senior-year Advanced Placement English class. Although the Fairfax County School Board voted against hearing her challenge, she still plans to take her complaint to the Virginia Board of Education
Murphy, 45, has been trying for six months to have “Beloved” banned. Now a freshman at the University of Florida, her son Blake, 19, recalled reading the book and told the Washington Post that “It was disgusting and gross” and “It was hard for me to handle. I gave up on it.”
The school board voted 6-2 against hearing Murphy’s case and upheld Superintendent Jack D. Dale’s decision to retain “Beloved” in the AP English curriculum.