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The Controversy Around Banning Books Essay

864 words - 3 pages

The subject of censorship is a very controversial one, especially the banning of books. Many people believe they must protect themselves and others from the "evils" of many classic books and works of art because they can be deemed "indecent" in one way or another. Many believe that this is absurd and censorship in its current form is a violation of our First Amendment right to free speech. Personally, I align myself with the latter, however I do feel there are occasions where censorship is justifiable.

The censorship of books is a division of censorship that, apart from Internet censorship, receives the most publicity. Banning books is the most popular form of such censorship. Many banned books are literary classics, such as The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, which was listed as the number 6 most challenged or banned book in a list compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union in 1997.

This book has been banned from school libraries all over the country because of the main character's teenage angst, which many feel is too graphic for teenagers, and its profanity. Profanity, whether it be frequent or a rare occurrence, is a characteristic of many literary classics, as is the use of racial epithets.In the book Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (ranking number 2 on the list), an epithet is use many times over to describe the people of color in the book. Now since the book was published in 1885 and such language was common at the time, I do not believe that banning such a book is necessary. An excuse commonly used by advocates of banning books that use graphic language or racial epithets is that they do not want children exposed to it. It is my belief that since by the time the child is required to read such literature in school, they are at an age where they can distinguish between things that should and should not be said and it is the job of the parents to educate the child that just because they say it in a book does not mean he or she should.Another subject common to banned and censored books is sexuality.

An excellent example of a book in question containing sexual content is The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, which ranked number 5 on the ACLU's list. Now considering the fact that this frequently banned book is written for young adults of middle and high school age, I'm sure the author included this content, and the often graphic language associated with such content, because it made the book more...

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