English 9H- Period 8
30 November 2010
The Harm of Censorship and Banning Books
To censor is to ban or cut portions of a publication, film, letter, etc. For as long as literature has existed, so has censorship. Forms of censorship include banning and burning books and editing previously published literature. Who is to decide what books should be accessible? Today, certain people are entrusted with the task of reading books and deciding whether the offensive material outweighs the educational value. Is this really acceptable? Censorship of books is in no way beneficial to society. Censoring books in schools and libraries takes away the peoples choice. All forms of literary censorship violate the first amendment right to freedom of speech, and therefore are harmful to society.
Censorship of books does not have any beneficial qualities. Many parents support censorship in schools to regulate what books their children have access to. What they do not understand is that not all parents believe in their specific views. Topics and material that one parent may find offensive and inappropriate may be completely acceptable to another (Swanson). The decision whether or not to read a book should be made individually, not by any single person or small group of people. In addition, the required reading in many school curriculums teaches not only academic lessons, but also life lessons that cannot be taught anywhere else. Classic novels such as Of Mice and Men, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are constantly challenged (Manzo). The educational and beneficial content in each of these stories definitely outweighs the few negative aspects. The responsibility of deciding what books are appropriate lies in the hands of parents, not censors.
Another important issue is the act of banning books in libraries. No one is denied access to a library. When librarians remove certain books from the shelves, they are denying access to...