The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Censorship and Classics

Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Maya Angelou. What do these writers have in common? Sure, they are all great American authors, but there is something else. They are all "banned." Censored. Forbidden. Who has not read a book by at least one of these authors? All are great pieces of literature and should be crucial parts of the high school curriculum. School censorship of books is detrimental to the educational development of high school students.

In order to understand the problems with school censorship, one must know why it is done. One reason is bad language. A prime example of this type of censorship occurred in a California school when words like "damn" and "hell" were blacked out of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Students were stunned by the irony of the situation. A book about censorship was being censored (Wright). Sexual activity is another common reason for censorship, along with assaults on family values and violence. Why is this happening when 90% of students surveyed do not believe that books should be censored because they contain offensive language or sexual situations (Survey)? Negative racial treatment of characters, setting, or theme also fuels censorship (Simmons).


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