Challenged Works

L’affaire du cachalot noir, Tison-Ardent, La complainte des huarts, and Les colères de l’océan

By Gervais Pomerleau


1995—A student was invited to set up a display in the lobby of the Polyvalente des Îlesde-la-Madeleine (Magdalen Islands High School) on the theme of the damage caused by the sunken oil barge Irving Whale. But the principal asked him to remove L’affaire du cachalot noir, a young people’s book that deals with this matter, or the display would be cancelled. The principal also prohibited the reading of other books by the author “because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about” and “because they are full of exaggerations and spelling mistakes.” (The “spelling mistakes” occur when an uneducated character or a bird whose beak is glued together is talking.) The student withdrew the book but, despite his teacher’s objections, did his end-of-term work in literature on Les colères de l’océan—and got one of the highest marks in his class.

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