To Kill A Mockingbird And Of Mice And Men Axed As Gove Orders More Brit Lit

Michael Gove, the UK’s education secretary, has caused controversy by insisting that more British literature be studied in English literature GCSEs. As a result, the OCR examination board will drop classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men from its syllabus. The Department for Education emphasised that it was not banning particular books and that the new syllabus will ensure pupils study a range of high-quality works, including at least one Shakespeare play, a 19th-century novel and post-1914 British Isles fiction. Critics have accused Gove of promoting a narrow view of literature and putting pupils off continuing to study English literature to A-level.

The novel Of Mice and Men explores the struggles of the poor and intellectually disabled, reminiscent of those adversely influenced by the bedroom tax and forced to work by private corporations with little empathy. Meanwhile, To Kill a Mockingbird confronts the issue of sexual violence against women and the obstacles a man of color faces in the hands of the law enforcement and the justice system. Regrettably, some consider discarding such works in favor of a more nationally focused curriculum, indicating the fear of the possibility of the invasion of "foreign" texts.

Beyond the school gates, there is a diverse and cosmopolitan world celebrating various cultures and histories that have come to shape the narrative of these islands. Despite that, the school curriculum seems to seek to maintain the island race’s status quo, disregarding any other perspectives.

While it is essential to impart works of English literature, exposure to alternative perspectives is valuable. The Diary of Anne Frank, another GCSE favorite, may very well be subjected to similar scrutiny. What will be its fate? Will it be replaced by LP Hartley? What about the arts? Will Cézanne have to make way for John Sell Cotman?


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    Ollie Fox is an experienced blogger and educator. He has written for a variety of educational websites, and has also taught online courses on blogging and social media marketing. Ollie is passionate about helping others learn how to be successful online, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and insights with the readers of his blog.