Surprisingly, some of the books that have been banned or challenged are mostly classics and critically acclaimed works. They have had a profound effect on us as a society, and to this day they are unanimously valued in literature. Yet some overprotective parents have challenged these works of art, so let’s take a look at some of these complaints about the books that have been banned at some point.
1. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye is told from the point of view of a very cynical adolescent, who narrates just a few days of his life right after he is expelled from his prep school. The novel itself is considered to be very edgy even in modern day, which is one of the main reasons why it is still one of the books that have been banned constantly. Critics often describe it as ‘unacceptable,’ ‘foul’ and ‘negative,’ but from a point of view of an adolescent, I found it very thought-provoking.
2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel that follows the life of Guy Montag, a fireman whose job is to burn books and rid the world of all discord and unhappiness. Several schools across the US utilized a censored version of the novel with all of the ‘hells’ and ‘damns’ blacked out, instead of fully banning the book. In addition, other complaints have said that the book itself goes against religious beliefs.
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is about self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby, who seems to have everything but at the same time nothing at all. The book was challenged by Baptist College in South Carolina, which condemned the book for using profane language and mere sexual references.
4. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
A Streetcar Named Desire, a play about Blanche DuBois and her tragic downfall, caused quite a stir when it first came out. Critics believed that the sexual content of the play had to be censored, especially when the film version of the play was in the works. However, this literary work of art is still one of the most dominant classics that is incorporated at a high school education level.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
An award-winning bestseller, To Kill a Mockingbird is about the childhood of Scout Finch in a Southern town, and the chaos that surrounds her family. While many educators believe that this classic is a must-read for every teenager, others believe that its content is degrading and profane.
6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Moby Dick is a stirring tragedy of obsession and vengeance that has been challenged for going against community values. For example, a Texas school district banned the book for that exact reason. Not really sure how strong of a case that can make, but those who wish to censor novels frequently bring up community values in discussions.
7. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Many high schools choose the “No Fear Shakespeare” version of the plays in order to help their students fully understand and enjoy the highly valued classics. However, there were complaints saying that those easy-to-read versions of the play contain mature content that middle-school children should not be exposed to.
Novels and plays can contain very provoking content that not all demographics might approve of, which is why even some of the most influential works of art are often banned. Do you believe some of these books should be banned?