To Ban or Not to Ban?

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Mariah Smyth
English II Honors
Holzberger
11 May 2012
To Ban or Not to Ban?
Give me literature or give me death.
Why stand we here idle? What is that gentlemen wish? What would they want? Is it text so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of the chains of censorship? Forbid it, almighty god! I know not what course others might take; but ask me give me literature, or give me death! (Parody of “Speech to the Virginia Convention”).

For centuries people have been reading books to gain knowledge and to be entertained (Introductory Assignment Sheet). Kurt Vonnegut did a magnificent job writing a piece threaded with compassion of a tragic historical event leaving behind a conspicuous moral statement.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut should not be removed from shelves, because the book is eye-opening especially for young adults who are soon to enter the real world and become our future. Certain groups decided to challenge harsh reality of the truth written into an educational and humorous read. A school’s board article stated, “We’re not making a judgment call on if the book is good or bad, we just want to make sure it’s age appropriate” (School board removes 2 books from school).

This is NOT an arguable reason considering Billy Pilgrim, the main character in Slaughterhouse-Five, went into war at the age of sixteen. The book states the facts. Vonnegut argues that war is inhumane.

This IS arguable and negotiable; war is deceitful and tears apart homes. Educational supervisors are trying to ban a book that is making children aware of the gruesome effects of war, and warnings to create a more diplomatic world.

Vonnegut served in World War II first handedly and wanted to stress the anxiety war puts upon people. While being a veteran, “Vonnegut once knew the comfort of such a community and home life, and knew also the feeling of having them wrenched away” (Twentieth-Century Writers 1950-1990). His goal in Slaughterhouse-Five was to...
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