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Challenging, Banning, And Burning Books Essay

1183 words - 5 pages

In the modern United States, there aren't many stories of books being roasted over an open fire. It also isn't heard of banned literature being confiscated and raids on homes, similar to Fahrenheit 451. Yet everyday in our society another book is being challenged and taken off the shelves at local libraries because it disagrees with one group's views or another's. This sort of censorship has been going on from the Cold War era and has been banning books like The Call of the Wild, and challenging books such as Feed. Book's are burned, banned, and challenged because of hurt feelings and disagreement on the content.
Books and other literature are burned after they have been banned, normally in a rather extreme movement to stop the spread of an idea. Post World War II when Nazism, communism, and militarism were scary ideas, any books that could contribute to these ideas were destroyed. The Allied Control Council in Germany led the denazification of over 30,000 titles, which was ironically similar to the Nazi book burnings from the past. This was an immensely fragile time for nations across the world because of the actions of Nazi Germany and the tension between western powers and the Soviet Union. Later in the Cold War era there was an incident when John Lennon of The Beatles band had his quote, “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus” taken out of context by southerners in the United States. This led to Evangelists and the Ku Klux Klan jumping in and encouraging the public to burn any Beatles memorabilia. The stronger Christian beliefs of the South (most of which is in an area called the “Bible Belt”) were offended despite the understanding of how the quote was used originally. The last incident, from 1987, is about a large public library in Kabul, Afghanistan which was established by leading scholars. This library housed a massive collection of over fifty thousand books in over four different languages including multiple ancient works. When the Soviet Union left Afghanistan the library was relocated to Kayan, but Taliban soldiers came in and destroyed numerous books with fire or destroyed them in the local river (Virani). These damaging actions were done out of an act of hatred towards the Afghanistan people, not towards the books or their messages.
American author and activist John London wrote the classic “The Call of the Wild” which is a story about a domesticated dog serving as a sled dog during the Gold Rush. Similar to many banned books, this book contains themes that were common with the time but people didn't want to talk about. These include animal cruelty, wiping out entire civilizations (similar to the Native Americans), and other negative talk or violence that went with the real past. Those who support the banning of the book claim that since the book is written from the dog's point of view that it will make kids want to read the novel (Baldassarro). While those who got the book banned only had the best intentions, to remove non...

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