Table of Contents Censorship in American Public Schools; Two Examples: The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn I. II. Purpose Introduction a. A Brief History of Censorship b. First occurrence of censorship in America III. Censors a. Teachers as Censors b. Parents as Censors c. Librarians as Censors d. Effects of Censorship on Students IV. Censorship a. Reasons Books are Censored b. First Amendment and Free Speech V. VI. Censoring Two Classics Censorship of The Catcher in the Rye a. Language b. Sexuality c. Reasons to Teach VII. Censorship of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a. Language 1 1 2 3 3 5 7 8 9 12 13 13 15 17 18 20 22 23 25
b. Racism c. Reasons to Teach VIII. IX. Conclusion Recommendations
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Censorship in American Public Schools; Two Examples: The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Purpose Censorship is apparent in a variety of domains such as music, television, politics, news, and books. The purpose of this study is to examine censorship through texts in secondary English classrooms. By studying the history and reasons for censorship of two American classic novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye, one may see these patterns of censored texts as they have evolved over the last century. The study will examine what is censored and who the censors are by concentrating on issues of language, sexuality, and racism. Introduction Censorship is an issue that has been debated for many years. Society places importance on censoring certain materials; public schools do as well. Furthermore, public schools play a large part in censoring books. Therefore studying the role that schools play in censoring provides information about censoring in general. Social climate frequently changes. Furthermore, society is often guided by trends and fads. While public schools are not separate from society, they are more or less stable because of tradition. Often public schools values are closely related to the community of which they are a part. Because of this relationship with community values, a school may censor due to concerns from its community. Public schools contribute to the communities of which they are a part by providing a sense of unity and promoting tolerance and understanding. Author,
Donna Demac claims, "since its origin in the nineteenth century, American public school education has had as one of its primary goals the assimilation of diverse peoples and the teaching of social tolerance" (Demac 7). Censorship may contradict this goal by preventing students to being exposed to multiple opinions, lifestyles, and cultures. Therefore one of the goals of public schools is oppose of it actions such as censorship. Literature is a primary avenue through which young people are exposed to and learn about other cultures. Yet banning books can potentially impact public schools in a manner that limits students. Teachers may suffer a loss or at least a limitation of their academic freedom when censorship enters a classroom. A large concern of teachers is that “the freedom of professional classroom teachers to design and implement curriculum must be protected as censorship undermines the creation of an informed citizenry able to make critical judgments among competing ideas” (Carey-Webb 23). Curriculums that are not censored reflect the world’s diversity and offer students the chance to broaden their knowledge of other people and cultures. A Brief History of Censorship To fully understand censorship, one must establish a working definition. Henry Reichman, author of Censorship and Selection: Issues and Answers for Schools, defines censorship as, “the removal, suppression, or restricted circulation of literary, artistic, or educational materials--of images, ideas, and information--on the grounds that these are morally or otherwise objectionable in light of standards applied by the censor”(Reichman 2). For the purpose of this study,...
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