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Censorship And Banned Books Essay

1534 words - 6 pages

Censorship and Banned Books

"Books are dangerous. They make you think…feel…wonder…. They make you ask questions (Weiss p.2)."

At the present time, at least seventy-five books are being banned. This is hurting our culture more than it is helping. This has to be stopped; books cannot be taken off of the shelves at the rate that they are today. The books that are being taken off of the shelves are, for the most part, considered classics. The act of book banning puts limitations on what authors can say, and what readers can read (Dorshemer p.1). The banning of books in America is a violation of our first amendment rights. Amendment 1 of the United States Constitution states as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievance (Dorsheimer p.1).
As long as humans have sought to communicate, others have sought to prevent them. Everyday someone tries to restrict what can be said, written, sung, or broadcast. Almost every idea ever has proved to be objectionable to one person or another. Books, especially public and school library books are among the most visible targets.
Books are of often challenged due to an individual or group of individuals considering the book to be controversial, immoral, inappropriate, sexually explicit, divisive, corrupt, vulgar, violent, or even wicked (Weiss p. 2.)
Unfortunately, among the most banned books are some of the best loved modern classics. But by far the most common type of censorship involves books quietly disappearing from libraries. Sometimes a parent who objects to a book but doesn't want to go through a formal challenge just slips it off the shelf. Frequently a librarian who may fear for her job removes a book that has become controversial. Because of the nature of "stealth censorship," it is difficult to document and impossible to quantify. These quiet book bannings affect every aspect of the book world. Librarians, who buy at least half of hardcover literary trade books published for children and young adults, have ever-tightening budgets and face a constricted job market. Under pressure from administrators not to land their schools in the midst of controversy, many librarians have become increasingly cautious about the kind of books they order (Weiss). The function of books is to initiate thought in the reader's mind. If books are continually being banned and censored, what thoughts are people going to have? The answer is none. This would turn our population into a bunch of people who can't think for themselves. This situation is very similar to that of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. In this engaging story, no controversial books are allowed into circulation because they make people...

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