Being for the Protection of English Majors

"Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as 'trigger warnings,' explicit alerts that the material they are about to read in a classroom might upset them" -- New York Times

The English department would like to alert potential majors that some of the literary works they encounter may spark unpleasant responses in populations with certain sensitivities. Please ask your instructor for suitable substitutes where appropriate. 

Do not read:

If you've had struggles or traumatic experiences with any of the following:


 Mrs. Dalloway

post-traumatic stress; defenestration; party planning

 The Scarlet Letter

slut-shaming; self-flagellation; heavy-handedness; Demi Moore sensitivity

 Lord of the Flies

beach vacations; pork products; sausage fests; Conch shell shock; summer camp

 King Lear

daddy issues; eye trauma; cracked cheeks; water damage

"The Metamorphosis"

pest control; fruit abuse; carapace irritation; familial intolerance of personal lifestyle

 To Kill a Mockingbird

mob-shaming; dog-shooting; recluse-pestering

"Dover Beach"

fear of heights; melancholia; open vowel syndrome

 The Corrections

repression; dementia; midwestern Protestantism; authorial condescension

 Atlas Shrugged

speechifying; people who like to talk about Atlas Shrugged 

"Hills Like White Elephants"

Drinking; bead curtains; similes; obliquity

"The Hollow Men"

rat phobias; pear intolerance; Conrad references


leg-ogling; biscuit assault; underwear objectification; excessive allusion; June 16

 Moby Dick

whales; whaling; whale-centrism; accidental amputation; cetacean albinism; minutiae

“The Raven”

weakness/weariness; surcease of sorrow; letting go; ornithophobia

 Fifty Shades of Grey

Breath hitching; lip biting

 The Grapes of Wrath

Family road trips; dust allergies; lactose intolerance