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The modern world has faced numerous challenges in the process of globalization. Despite the advantages of integration in many humanitarian questions, there are many problems caused by economic abuse and income discrimination of different ethnic groups. Poor population, especially in the countries of the third world, is subject to new kinds of economic slavery when people agree to work for very low payment in harmful working conditions and have no opportunities in life.
Children have become a vulnerable layer of the population in such countries, and there are numerous examples of children's rights violations. There are millions of kids and teenagers subject to maltreatment or sexual abuse all over the world. The problem of child rights abuse originates from family and social environment. In families, where parents experience difficulties with personal social adaptation, children tend to be neglected, stressed, and frustrated. The absence of opportunities to support a family or break the poverty circle leads to family violation and child exploitation. For example, in India or Thailand, many children are engaged in prostitution and human trafficking.
Nowadays, many scientists believe that children should be brought up in an atmosphere of peace, and that would bring peace in the future. Other scientists think that kids should be informed of the possible dangers and their rights to identify cases of violence and to be protected.
Copper Sun by Sharon Draper is an example of a vow for slaves transported to America at the end of the 18th century. This fiction reveals the fate of an African-American girl. Amari, the main character, was taken from her native village in Africa and sold as a slave to work on American plantations. Though the described events took place more than two centuries ago, the story remains actual and instructive. To a large extent, it concerns modern teenagers, who have access to numerous evil sources via the Internet. They can become victims of sexual fraud, abuse, and exploitation.
The article by Sherman Alexie Why the Best Kids Books Are Written In Blood explains the necessity of discussing with teenagers and kids the traditionally forbidden topics. The author's idea is that many crimes in the Children's Rights Violation might have been avoided if children were aware and informed of them. The author wrote that in his book, he wanted to give children weapons in the form of words and ideas that will help them to fight their monsters (Sherman n.p.).
The Problem of Children's Moral and Sexual Abuse
The author of the article addresses the problem of the widespread violence against children and especially teens in modern America. It concerns mostly children living in evil environments and having no one to take proper care of them or encourage them to reach success. He describes the meeting at an alternative school as a beautiful and at the same time painful ceremony. He writes that it is typical for him to visit such schools. Sherman Alexie says that he gets a lot of letters from kids inspired by his books. The author reveals that letters are handwritten with crayons and contain numerous self-made illustrations. The author's sincerity, his personal story of reliance, or maybe the topics of his books find a broad response in young and especially forsaken hearts. Responses are numerous and different in nature. Some young people find similarities between the article and their personal story of abuse. Others, protected and safe, find this author's books a reason and argument for fighting for the personal identity and right of choice.
On the whole, the article seems to be a possible way out for solving the problem of teenagers' motivation to read. Children should be allowed and even encouraged to discuss the topics forbidden in the conservative culture, for example, the problem of children's moral and sexual abuse.
The wars of the twentieth century have made mankind reconsider the principles of collaboration and peace in the global society. However, many children and teens all over the world experience numerous abuses because of being socially or legally unprotected. The problem of violence towards children remains urgent and has acquired new forms. Kids need to be somehow informed and protected from the possible threats of the Big World.
Children can be called one of the most important modern subcultures. They are the main socio-demographic group that determines the future of any country. Their position and status stipulate qualitative characteristics of the present and the future of every ethnic group. Non-violent childhood is the foundation of physical and mental health as well as the cultural, moral, and intellectual potential of future generations. Attitude towards children is an important part of everyday life.
However, much in upbringing is done on a subconscious level. Unfortunately, in many families, parents only copy the behavior of the adults who took care of them in childhood. The speed and overload of information as well as constant stress can increase the cases of violence and frustration. Both young people and adults have to acquire the tools of stress management. In many cultures, children experience violent attitudes from their parents from the cradle and perceive it as a norm. Adults try to impose their style of living upon their children; however, the kids need to understand what they want and in which sphere they can be successful.
The problems of trust deficiency and lack of support in a family make young people vulnerable to numerous twenty-first-century addictions such as alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Having experienced some elements of violence, people tend to become either unable to take an active and constructive position in life or get aggressive and angry at the world. Embittered and depressed children are an ideal material to replenish the army of criminals and victims of social and sexual abuse. Violence and neglect of children are now considered one of the crucial social problems and the leading cause of child injury and mortality; they also lead to child antisocial behavior, mental disorders, and defects in personal and physical development.
Alexie Sherman says in his article that the kids from alternative schools were very interested in his story of personal struggle against addiction and mental disease. By such sincerity, the author implies that any problem should be discussed with somebody or at least oneself. Maybe, the large number of unspoken problems difficult to announce attracts children's attention to reading about dark and monstrous things in life. In his article, Sherman wrote, As a child, I read because books violent and not, blasphemous and not, terrifying and not were the most loving and trustworthy things in my life (Sherman n.p.). It may have become the reason for the appearance of the so-called young-adult literature gaining popularity nowadays.
Young Adults Literature
Many scientists and modern humanitarians claim that mankind has advanced in the questions of democracy, freedom, and children's protection. However, the problem remains urgent as sexual abuse has always been a forbidden topic in communication with children. In many cultures, children experience violent attitudes from parents from an early age. Adults try to impose their style of living on their children. Kids face many challenges becoming grown-ups if they are constantly abused and restricted.
Children's behavior often becomes a reflection of what they perceive from their environment in early childhood. A specific range of topics that are affected by this literature, for example, teenage suicide, first sex, human trafficking abuse, maltreatment, or teen pregnancy, becomes an obstacle to the development of young adults literature. Many of these problems are still taboo in conservative society. Sellers regularly tell about the cases where parents refuse to buy a book published on the abovementioned topics, but teens regularly ask for such literature.
Fiction often indicates the presence of violence, with the moralizing purpose, and violence described in the books should encourage young people to act differently. The new line of young adult literature teaches not to be good or evil but reveals the possibility of an unexpected threat and sad outcomes of being too careless and unaware of relevant information.
Parents subconsciously try to save their kids from dirty scenes thinking that childhood is not the right time for such themes. However, the author of the article Why the Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood is against this approach. Having had many chances to meet children in different schools of America, he speaks about the necessity to be sincere. It is useless to conceal the facts about rape or other kinds of possible abuse in the hope of protecting kids from the adult world. Sherman Alexie shared his ideas in his books about kids and their misfortunes and found many followers among the young adult readers.
The situation is the same as in cases with alcoholism. The first and the most, important step is to accept that a person has a problem and is ready to share it with those who have also faced it. Books written in a sincere and frank manner with appropriate pictures help teenagers to communicate the problem to themselves. They start thinking, not just feeling that something is going wrong and looking for a way out from their false position and subconscious fear.
There is a problem that modern children have no habit to read for pleasure or enjoyment and choose other easier ways of pleasing themselves. They watch TV or surf the Internet. Many of them are deprived of the ability to perceive the beauty of a literary work just because they are taught to look for information quickly and without paying attention to lyrical details. The speed and interpretation of the text become more important than its artistic value. That is why texts for children and teenagers should be written engagingly to catch their fussy attention. Books for youth should be written about the problems they can face in the modern world; violence remains one of them.
Young people should read bloody literature filled with emotions and various stylistic devices, which help to see the hardships of one's life and appreciate what they have (Sherman n.p.).
The Ideas and Stylistics of the Book Copper Sun by Sharon Draper
The book Copper Sun by Sharon Draper can be a historical and personal insight for the modern youth even though it describes events that happened two centuries ago. It corresponds with Alexie Sherman's idea of revealing to children the evils and bloody pictures of life. Sharon Draper was inspired to write her book after visiting the trading port in Africa from where thousands of Africans started the way to their bondage, slavery, and humiliated life.
The joy and feeling of safety so unexpectedly broken by slave traders, who invaded the village of the 15-year-old Amari, can remind the feelings of thousand children living in hot points and places of the military contest. Close people can be killed, and special islands of happiness can be broken so unexpectedly forever. When the girl and her groom were seeing each other the last time his, eyes seemed saying, I would have been a good husband for you, Amari. I would have loved you more with every sunrise and sunset (Draper 36). The sorrow of parting with all the relatives and close people can break one's heart forever. This dramatic situation cannot be perceived to its depth if the person has not experienced something similar in his or her personal life. It can become the starting point for future development or completely ruin a human's mind and the sphere of values and cognition.
The story takes place in the years of African-Americans enslavement and transatlantic transportation. The former experience in slave trade and exploitation made the Europeans captivate Africans and sell them for work on the cane and cotton plantations of the New World. African slaves became the most profitable commodity for the new plantation owners in the West Indies. Some slaves were exposed to abuse and violence even aboard the ships transporting them. Women were forced to have sexual intercourse and sometimes were raped by their captures. The drum used by the sailors aboard the ship Amari was sailing did not bring any joy or merriness. Men ordered the women to dance to see them half-naked and choose the victims of their lust.
The author of the book Copper Sun wrote her literary work using stylistic devices which enhanced the feeling of depression and tension. The story is written in the third person, but the author applies inner speech and extensive dialogues. Hearing drums monotonously beating, Amari thought, It has none of the life and voice our drummers were able to coax from a drum (Draper 47)
In the dialogue between Amari and Afi, a Negro companion in her voyage to America, the girl resists her new position. She cannot accept the fact that she will never live the life she has got used to. Afi insists to forget everything as mourns and groans for the past lead to nowhere. When the woman declares to Amari that she is a mere slave, the girl convicts her of being cruel. Afi responds that she is just honest (Draper 37).
Amari becomes a present to the son of a plantation owner in America instead of being married to a boy from her tribe in Africa. She has to face the abuse, slavery, and separation with all her close people and start living again. The sun stops shining brightly for her, and the lost freedom becomes her most cherished dream.
Amari's reaction to having been raped by Clay is typical for an abused young girl. She wanted to die, hide from the rest of the world, be forsaken and forgotten.
The situation when the victims of abuse refuse to accept their new position is typical and repeated many times throughout history. The fact of relatives' loss and feeling unable to change anything can be familiar to those who have undergone something similar and experienced frustration and depression. The struggle in a hopeless situation fighting all the difficulties can be a helpful example for suffering youth. The book teaches that the value of life is in life itself and the ability to face every new coming day with a smile and hope.
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Modern youth grows in the situation of high competence. They graduate and come into the overloaded job and information market. They have to start building their career in the conditions of income discrimination. Classics and science fiction can teach a lot about the past; however, the present is still unknown, blurred, and dangerous for many young people who enter the adult world. The new challenges of the job market stipulate the necessity of being cute, quick, and alert; thus, young people often find lyrics useless and additional aspects of life preferences and joys.
Children and teenagers should learn to find the truth, survive hardships, and become useful and helpful. In my opinion, the book Copper Sun can be instructive for both adults and the youth. It is written about important things but in a simple language. To my mind, the most important message of the book is that even the sun painted in a bloody copper tint remains wonderful and promises a lot of joy to those who have love and faith in their hearts, can adapt, and become stronger thanks to the hardships of life.
Adults have to adapt to the new conditions that allow children to access forbidden topics and pictures on the Internet and warn about succumbing to evil influences. Parents should try to become friends with their teenage child being able to talk on every topic at any time. A child or teenager should be aware that he/she is understood in any case. Young adult literature can help in extending topics and encourage a trustful collaboration between parents and their offsprings. The article of Sherman Alexie underlines the importance of not being afraid of the truth and not being abused by it in the future.
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