Censorship of Literature

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Censorship of Literature on Students
“The child who is taught nothing of his or her country’s cultural, political, and intellectual heritage must be pitied as much as the child who is compelled to conform on all respects to conventional wisdom” (Riechman 5). Throughout the centuries, literature has been censored because it has been accused of being inappropriate or promoting religious or racial ideals. Parents, school districts, and school board members believe that these subjects shouldn’t be taught to students in junior high or high school for the reason that they see students as children that do not need to be informed of such matters; however, this course of action has limited the ability of students to learn from and form opinions on texts. Censorship of literature in schools effects how students will learn in college and in everyday life, limits their exposure to different types and styles of writing, and is a violation of the United States Constitution.

If certain pieces of literature are banned or censored in schools, it will hinder the students’ ability to use the knowledge from those texts in college. Some might say that these restricted works or books with similar ideas and themes might be read in college. Although it may be true, colleges expect their students to be familiar with controversial texts, such as The Scarlet Letter, or their themes. If books are not available to students in high school, it creates obstacles that hinders their opportunity to do well in college and makes courses harder than they need to be. Another reason that it is important for students to be familiar with censored literature before they enter college is that professors expect them to be able to identify time periods and explain historical events that take place in these novels as well as analyze why the author wrote his book in relation to the era and happenings. Middle and high schools are meant to prepare its students for college through presenting them with scenarios that push them to think for themselves. For example “… the purpose of education is to teach students to think, and this they will be unable to do unless they are exposed to a variety of conflicting ideas, images, and viewpoints” (Riechman 6). Without these “viewpoints,” students will not be able to approach a piece of literature from more than one angle and only see a meaning that is only half correct or possibly incorrect because they know nothing of the period of time or history of it. Because of this lack of knowledge in school, it may take students longer than is needed to comprehend a book in college which could lead to extra work or a low grade in the course. The censoring of literature can also affect children’s ability to interpret everyday life. Children’s culture is and should be controlled by the children because “they can experience the sanctity of being a child through art , music, and literature” (Casares 1). Through the arts, children begin to develop their own forms of opinions on certain topics. This state of thinking can be put to use on valid situations in life such as wondering if purchasing an item is going to be a benefit to their well-being or if it is just an indulgence. According to Allyson Casares, “Literature can provide children with authentic experiences because it is their own to interpret” (Casares 1). Children and students will need help from time to time in determining a situation or a meaning of a book but it is up to them to decide what their own opinion is. Without literature, students cannot begin to develop the analytical skills that are needed in school or college. Students not only should be able to analyze novels and be familiar with their historical background by college but also learn from literature, whether it be life lessons, history, or types and styles of different authors.

Censorship also limits the students ability to read different styles of writings. For example, the writing style of Nathaniel Hawthorne...
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