ENGL 1123 P18
A Critical Response to “Censorship: A Personal View”
In the article “Censorship: A Personal View”, an introduction to her book Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writer, Judy Blume, an advocate in the anticensorship movement, shares her experiences dealing with censorship and the banning of books throughout her career as a writer of children’s books. In this article, Blume explains how being told not to do or read certain books increases temptation and desire to do the exact opposite due to curiosity, especially in children. Blume implies that the creativity of writers is blocked because they are afraid that what they write may get censored and put on the restricted shelves and never read by their targeted audience. She also argues that the banning of books in classrooms may hinder the learning of children. While censorship is important, it should be censored to certain age groups, but available to the older age groups such as adolescents in middle school and should not affect educational material.
To Kill A Mocking Bird written by Harper Lee, The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, or Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and The Diary of Anne Frank written by Anne Frank herself are all victims of the censorship cruelty and have been banned in some schools. What happens to the children that don’t get to read the previously named books? They do not get the opportunity to have a better understanding of history and then become ungrateful of what this country as well as other’s have went through and do not get a full understanding of the importance of our freedom. Also, it gives students the privilege of being able to see life from another’s point of view through the ability to lose themselves in the books and catch the same emotions and feelings as the characters. With the help of description and the vulgarity of books, adolescents will be able to form their own opinions and become open minded on controversial issues such as prejudices and sexuality, and not be forced to have to the same opinion of their parents or teachers. In a sense, books can very well help people to find themselves. Without books about slavery, genocide, or racial issues being available in the libraries, children will never truly understand and appreciate how lucky and fortunate they are to live in better times.
Censorship is defined as the “act of changing or suppressing speech or writing that is considered subversive of the common good” by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Some may argue that this goes against the first amendment and their “Freedom of Speech”. Blume explains how, “Puberty became a dirty word” during the time of the 1980 election, this point is intriguing because it is a natural and normal stage of life yet it is banned and books (320). This proves how outrageously out of control the situation actually is. Censorship makes the writer not only look bad, but as if they are the bad guys which is not the case, at all. Blume faced censorship the harshest when her editor, who usually supported her, suggested she take out a line in her book, Tiger Eyes, due to a description of masturbation of fifteen-year-old girl. Blume expressed how “alone” she felt (320). Lines such as these could cure curiosity of the young, developing minds which is important because they would not have to learn from personal experience but rather learn from those of others.
In an article titled “An Exploratory Study of Children’s Views of Censorship”, Nstasha Isajlovic-Terry and Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie brought up censorship through the view of children aged six to twelve. Children were asked their opinion because “there appears to be little written about children’s perspectives on intellectual freedom and censorship, particularly when it applies to material of interest to them” (Isajlovic-Terry, McKechnie 38). During the study a twelve-year-old girl was asked her opinion on parents choosing books for their children her...
Cited: Blume, Judy. “Censorship: A Personal View.” Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers. Eds. M. Clay Hooper, et al. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2011. 317-321. Print.
Isajlovic-Terry, Natasha, and Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie. "An Exploratory Study of Children 's Views of Censorship." Children & Libraries: The Journal of The Association For Library Service To Children 10.1 (2012): 38-43. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Mar. 2013.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document