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As a fan of "great books" I'm sure you're aware of Dickens' and Tolstoy's vehement anti religious views, especially Christian evangelism and the graphic scenes of rape and other forms of human brutality in their novels.
Getting upset over some sort of personal opinion over semantics denies you the ability to understand the context and the greater message the author is conveying. Denying any young person the experience of being able to learn about the lives of people suffering during times of great historical misfortune such as that of African Americans in the Jim Crow south is a sin. Alice Walker should be and has been lauded for her wonderfully written account of terrible hardships and the triumph of the loving human spirit.

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