Coeur d’Alene panel targets ‘Of Mice and Men’

The Coeur d’Alene School Board will get the final say in June.

But a curriculum review committee is recommending the district make John Steinbeck’s 1937 novella “Of Mice and Men” a voluntary read for ninth-graders.

One objection, as Scott Maben of the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported Tuesday, is profanity. Committee member Mary Jo Finney said she counted 102 obscenities in the novella’s 110 pages. “The teachers actually had the audacity to have students read these profanities out loud in class.”

If the committee gets its way, Steinbeck’s tale about a pair of migrant workers would be available on a voluntary, small-group basis in ninth-grade English classes, Maben reported.

Steinbeck is one of the most decorated novelists in American literature, receiving both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize.

“Of Mice and Men” is one of the most banned or challenged literary classics of the 20th Century, according to the American Library Association. Many of these challenges have been based on what opponents consider vulgar or blasphemous language.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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