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The Great Gatsby. Lord of the Flies. The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin.
When you hear these titles, what do you think of?
Chances are you either recognize these titles as classic literature or you read these books in some sort of English class.
These books really helped shape our society
However, these books, along with many others, are most frequently added to the banned books lists at schools.
Most classic American literature was written during a significant time in history in the United States.
For example, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was written during the Jim Crow era.
This era was by no means a proud moment of America, but it was significant to our history.
However, this book is commonly banned by schools.
Yes, there is language that might be considered offensive.
Yes, there are racial slurs. This is by no means excused, but it was the language of the author’s surroundings..
If that language was taken out, it could change the depiction of America from that era.
If the racial slurs were taken out, the book would no longer be historically accurate.
When a book like this is banned, it’s like administrations are trying to shelter students from the harsh reality that is America’s history.
According to an article from USA Today by Heather Wines regarding challenged books, the main reason that books are challenged is because of sexually explicit content.
While this makes sense, most classic novels do not have explicit sex scenes.
Most of the time things such as prostitutes are mentioned but it doesn’t go into great detail about what really happens.
In Wines’ article, violence, racism, and vulgar language were also mentioned as common reasons that books are banned.
Although these are good reasons, you have to look at the big picture.
These students should be old enough to understand that vulgar language does exist.
They should also be able to recognize that sometimes this an author’s use of vulgar language is necessary to maintain some realistic accuracy in the book.
These students also need to realize that racism was a huge part of our history, and arguably still is.
Violent acts are often necessary to the plot of the novel or aren’t offensive enough to cause concern.
Am I saying that a second-grade should read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck?
No, I am not. I am saying that this novel should be acceptable for high school students to read and understand.
Classic literature should not be allowed on the banned books list.
This literature helped shape America.
This literature portrays fictional accounts about real historical events.
These are the books that show up on AP tests, yet they seem to be constantly challenged.
These books hold educational value.
Therefore, classic literature should not be banned, but should be read by an appropriate audience that can understand the significance of the novel.