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Banned Books
By LARREN SMITH 269 views

Banned Books – Are There Any Reasons For Censorship?

Imagine desperately wanting to read a specific book. Imagine searching for it everywhere, not finding it, and then getting to know that the book is banned in your state. How does that feel? Frustrating, of course. But won’t you wonder why books get banned? Are there any valid reasons for censorship?

Well, according to PIA research, there are plenty of reasons why books may get banned, the biggest one being the sexual content in the books. This includes themes like sexual orientation, gender identity, intercourse, body image, etc., as they are thought to be inappropriate for people of certain age groups. However, there are other reasons why authorities ban books, too. These include religious or moral factors, historical inaccuracies, offensive language, political viewpoints and biases, and more. To take a closer look at why some books don’t find a place on the shelf, keep scrolling through this article.

Sexual Themes

As already mentioned, books discussing or depicting sexual themes like gender identity, sexual orientation, intercourse, or anything along those lines have been widely censored. Parents and critics worry that these books can “corrupt” the minds of young readers. Furthermore, there’s a line between artistic exploration and being sexually explicit that does get blurred at times.

For example, Beloved by Toni Morrison, although a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, has been censored for its graphic content. The book includes scenes depicting child sexual abuse that have been considered inappropriate for readers.

Over Historical Inaccuracies

Not all books get the facts right. Some books are said to have historical inaccuracies (or even accuracies) that can potentially spark controversy, which can simply be avoided by taking the book off shelves. This is probably because history isn’t always pretty, and confronting the truth in books can be pretty uncomfortable.

For example, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou is a powerful memoir that shares the author’s experiences with racism and sexual abuse in childhood. However, the book has been censored for downplaying the reality of racial injustices in communities.

Offensive Language

It’s almost okay not to be overly cautious with the language used in a book. It’s okay to use silly words or those that can be considered slightly naughty once in a while. It adds some more color and emotion to the book. But a line has to be drawn at some point, especially when the target audience of the book is going to be little, school-going, impressionable children.

This is probably why books like Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey have been censored in some places. Critiques have found the usage of words like “diapers” and “butts” to be inappropriate for the younger set of audience.

Political Viewpoints

Let’s get this straight: Not all books discussing politics get banned, but some do. For example, although not outrightly banned, Animal Farm by George Orwell has been challenged plenty of times before for the political viewpoints it discussed. The book, a satirical allegory, critiques totalitarian regimes but itself got criticized for sharing anti-communist messages.

Please note that Animal Farm has also been used in schools to teach students about dictatorship and its dangers.

Religious Objections:

Religious beliefs and values often play a significant role in shaping attitudes toward literature, leading to instances of book censorship. This is particularly evident when certain religious groups perceive books as conflicting with their established doctrines or core beliefs. Works that challenge religious authority by presenting alternative interpretations of scripture or questioning traditional dogma may face scrutiny and censorship.

Additionally, depictions of religious figures in a negative light, whether perceived as disrespectful or blasphemous, can provoke strong objections from devout followers, leading to calls for banning or restricting such works. Furthermore, books that raise questions about religious teachings, rituals, or practices may be deemed controversial and subject to censorship efforts aimed at protecting the integrity of religious doctrine.

Wrapping Up

So, these were some of the main reasons books tend to get censored. While some might argue that the reasons seem to be just, some might think they aren’t. Some might even say that alternatives to banning books should always be considered, and this seemingly harsh option that restricts freedom of speech and the right to information should always be kept as a last resort.

But what do you think about the censorship of books? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

larren SMith

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