Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Problems in Human Relations Translate to Every Language

DEAR ABBY: I am an English teacher. The reader from Harpers Ferry cites "sibling rivalry, spousal mistrust and sexual abuse" among things your column supposedly promotes. As you pointed out, discussion and promotion are two entirely different things. If we are to stick solely to British and American "classics" to teach English, take a closer look: There's sibling rivalry in the works of Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen and Emily Bronte, to name a few. Spousal mistrust is featured in "Hamlet," Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," and anything written by Steinbeck or Hemingway. And look no further than "The Scarlet Letter" if you want to talk about sexual dysfunction and abuse.

I won't even begin to address the woman's ridiculous act of placing "homosexuality" on her list of social ills. -- BARBARA BORTOT, MINNESOTA

DEAR BARBARA: It's usually those topics people are afraid to discuss that need to be talked about the most.