Reblog: Do we need trigger warnings on classic literature?


Very interesting post from Laura Droege raising some thought-provoking points.

From my personal experience, when I was at college studying for my Access to Higher Education Diploma (way back in 2010) we had to split into groups and do a presentation on various issues. We were assigned the groups and the subject matter. My group was assigned sexually transmitted diseases. I volunteered to do the historical research, thinking that that was something I could handle. The others in the group wanted to use pornographic photographs as part of the presentation to shock people and provoke a response. While I could see why they wanted to do that, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I spoke to the tutor and explained a little of my history and why I just couldn’t do the presentation, though I would do the write-up. It was tough but it gave me the confidence (for the first time!) to not feel like I have to be ok with the same things as other people. It took me many years to learn that it’s ok to say no!

These days I avoid ‘triggers’ as far as possible and am waiting (still…) for EMDR therapy. Like Laura says, I know all too well the horribleness of life and need to be reminded, again and again, of the goodness, of the beauty, of the joy. This is why ‘one day at a time’ works so well for me; each day I can begin again, thankful for what is, practicing staying in God’s presence, and knowing that whatever happens, God is good (this helps because it takes the emphasis off me, off my family, off humanity even).

As for trigger warnings on books: it would help if there were warnings about certain more extreme things, but on the other hand some people have triggers that aren’t generally considered extreme, so they have to work out their own strategies, I guess. It should be made clearer to young people that it’s ok to say ‘no’. Also, what about books with ‘adult’ content that can be accessed by all ages? I think there should be at least some age restrictions. On the other hand some say that that comes down to parenting. On the other hand not everyone has good parents… If I have any more hands I’ll be an octopus. I don’t know. We have restricted access to television in our house and I monitor my children’s reading material. I think this has benefited everyone, not just the children. But most importantly we talk. I have wandered off topic but I do think these things are related.

Laura Droege's blog

Irony: putting a trigger warning on a post about trigger warnings. Irony aside, it’s only fair to give a warning that I’ll mention a particular episode of my bulimia as part of this story. So if this is an issue for you, feel free to read something else.


I was an art history minor in college. I loved all my art classes, with one exception.

Contemporary art and issues.

I don’t connect with most contemporary art, or the art doesn’t connect with me, or we fail to appreciate each other’s vision and see only the other’s blind spots. (As if “art” is as human as I am!)

That semester was a particularly lonely time for me. I was recovering from a nervous breakdown and mono, and was still wrestling with depression. I also had no one in my life who loved art like I did, no Christian to help me…

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One thought on “Reblog: Do we need trigger warnings on classic literature?

  1. Thank you so much for the reblog. I think you raise some very good points here. I’m a big advocate of talking with children about tough topics/issues in age-appropriate ways and using language they can understand. Much of it depends on the child’s maturity level and environment at school. (For example, are they likely to run into discussion on certain subjects with their grade level peers? Are they intellectually capable of understanding abstract concepts yet?)

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