Happy Ending, Happy Readers? Questionable Simplification in an Adapted Version of Greek Mythology

Main Article Content

Napanant Montkhongtham

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to have educators contemplate the reading materials selected for children. Three chapters of The Stories of Greek Heroes, a simplified version of Greek mythology used in an eighth-grade English reading class at a Thai secondary school in the 1990s and 2000s, were selected for discussion. They are compared and contrasted to their equivalent chapters in Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, a text chosen for a third-year English class at the Faculty of Arts of a Thai university during the same period of time. This paper analyzes the nine differences between these two versions of Greek mythology, which were selected for readers of different ages, and how certain messages constrained in the stories may affect younger readers’ minds. Moreover, the pros and cons of the eighth-grade version are also discussed. While proponents of simplification argue that the intention behind the censorship of particular aspects is to protect young minds and society, those against it focus on depicting an authentic view of society and humanity and particularly on preparing students for the real world. In short, realism proponents believe in presenting a text that shows what the world is whereas simplification advocates prefer to depict what should be. Potentially, a supervised setting is an answer for both sides. If educators carefully examine the advantages and disadvantages of simplification, they should be able to choose appropriate reading materials or a fitting means with which to educate their students and responsibly help their students effectively relate textual meanings to what they experience in their real lives.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Section
Articles
Author Biography

Napanant Montkhongtham

Napanant Montkhongtham acquired her BA in English at the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University. Her minors were French and philosophy. After graduation she taught English at Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School (Secondary) for two years before pursuing her MA in Liberal Studies at the University of Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. Her major was creative writing. She has been an English instructor at Chulalongkorn University Language Institute for seven years, teaching English for sciences and technology. Now she is also pursuing her PhD in English Language Studies (International Program) at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University. Her research interests include cognitive stylistics, creative writing, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics.

References

Battin, M.P., Fisher, J., Moore, R., & Silvers, A. (1989). Puzzles about arts: An aesthetics casebook. Boston, MA: Bedfort/St. Martin’s Press.

Bettelheim, B. (1985). The uses of enchantment: The meaning and importance of fairy tales. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books.

Bidgoli, H. (Ed.). (2009). Global perspectives in information security: Legal, social, and international issues. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Gokcearslan, A. (2010). The effect of cartoon movies on children’s gender development. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2, 5202-5207.

Gopalakrishnan, A. (2011). Multicultural children’s literature: A critical issues approach. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.

Hamilton, E. (1969). Mythology: Timeless tales of gods and heroes. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing.

Hornby, S., & Glass, B. (Ed.). (2008). Reader development in practice: Bringingliterature to readers. London, England: Facet Publishing.

Kirsh, S.J. (2006). Cartoon violence and aggression in youth. Aggression and violent behavior, 11, 547-557.

Li, J.B., Delvecchio, E., Miconi, D., Salcuni, S., & Di Riso, D. (2014). Parental attachment among Chinese, Italian, and Costa Rican adolescents: A cross-cultural study. Personality and Individual Differences, 71, 118-123.

Papalia, D.E., & Feldman, R.D. (2012). Experience human development (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Peleg, I. (Ed.). (1993). Patterns of censorship around the world. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Pennell, A.E., & Browne, K.D. (1999). Film violence and young offenders. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 4(1), 13-28.

Piirainen-Marsh, A. (2010). Irony and the moral order of secondary school classrooms. Linguistics and Education, 22(4), 364-382.

Quinn, M.J. (2006). Ethics for the information age. Boston, MA: Pearson Addison Wesley.

Salem, L.C. (2006). Children’s literature studies: Cases and discussions. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Sternberg, K.J., Lamb, M.E., Guterman, E., Abbott, C.B., & Dawud-Noursi, S. (2005). Adolescents’ perceptions of attachments to their mothers and fathers in families with histories of domestic violence: A longitudinal perspective. Child Abuse and Neglect, 29, 853-869.

The Stories of Greek Heroes, a simplified version used in an English reading course for eighth-grade students at a Thai secondary school in the 1990s and 2000s

Tyson, L. (1999). Critical theory today: A user friendly guide. New York, NY: Garland Publishing.