Banned Books essay example

1,273 words
Literary Censorship Censorship in American society is inconsistent and biased toward things that affect adults. American censorship may help control the bitter world of television, video games, and music, but what about the literary documents? Literature is defined as the body of written works of a language, period, or culture. This can include newspapers, magazines, textbooks, or even the novels and books that are considered classics.

These items are not always put under the microscope and censored. Literary "Classics", like Huckleberry Finn, have violent, racial, and strong adult language. These items in books, to some, may be deemed inappropriate for younger readers. Most of the information in these literary items are available to most teenagers and younger children at libraries and schools.

Here in America the freedom of speech is a attribute that draws many to this country. The Constitution of the United States states that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. All of this seems wonderful, but why are some books looked down upon by people? Should not all literature fall under the Constitution's protective blanket?

Some of the banned books are not intended for younger children. Even though these books are not intended for young children, these books can still be accessed by the younger age group through the public libraries and schools. So why aren't books strictly watched like the television and video game industries are? It could be that some of these "Banned Books" are also considered, by some, as classics.

According to the American Library Association's 100 most frequently challenged books, authors like Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Maya Angelou, Harper Lee, and Stephen King have books that have been challenged. Some of these authors have written amazing stories that are being challenged. There is a difference between banning and challenging. A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. Books usually are challenged or banned with the goal of protecting others, mostly children, from situations and circumstances beyond their understanding. The term banning is the removal of those materials from school curriculum or a library collection.

Challenges do not simply involve a single person not liking a piece of literature. They are an attempt to remove the material from the curriculum or library, and thus restricting the access of others to the "evil" material. Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful. This allows most materials to be available to anyone who would like to read them in the school or library collection. The age limitations on buying adult magazines is 18 and in some places 21. Some novels, and books have erotic parts.

Shouldn't there be a age limitation on those too? You would think nudity in America is something that is under tight and strict supervision. Only adults should have access to this kind of material, right? In this day and age it is starting to be apparent that children are gaining access to this erotic and sometimes violent material. Even if all the dirty magazines and websites were taken away and only adults knew how to gain access to these materials, there is still nudity around. Art museums have statues and paintings of nude people.

When visiting the art gallery in Washington DC it is amazing to see how many pictures and statues that had nude figures. No one stopped me from looking at these statues and paintings. Why?? Some adult magazines have centerfolds that have men and women posing nude. Is this art??

Some say it is. If it is art, then why are people under the age of 18 not allowed to view it like in the museums?? During the Clinton administration the scandals involving the former president and some women made front page news. This information is readily available to children under the age of 18 for a mere $0.50 in the form of newspapers or magazines. Now shouldn't there some kind of censorship on magazines and newspapers too? Apparently this would only apply to the children that can read and comprehend what some of this means.

Since video games and television have ratings shouldn't books, magazines, textbooks, and any educational materials also have a rating system? This could prevent young people from being exposed to things that are not appropriate for them. Even if this is it conceivable, will a ratings system be enough to stop the absorption of this information until the government, parents, and the community deem it appropriate for certain age brackets? What if everything that is written, taped, or recorded is sent off to a censorship lab to be processed and deemed appropriate for a certain viewing age. While this lab would almost wipe out objectionable material, this is not a reality due to the freedom of speech, also known as the first amendment.

Most of the responsibility to censor this questionable material falls on to the parents and schools systems shoulders. Because human beings are not perfect, sometimes even these kinds of people let things that are questionable slip through the cracks. So who can we point the finger at? Who is responsible for censorship? Can Parents, businesses, schools, or government organizations be held responsible for censorship?

You can ask these questions to many people and get many different answers. In the United States we have a widely mixed culture. Each of the cultures has their own beliefs, religion, and personal ideas of what is appropriate. In summary, the only reason someone challenges or tries to ban a book is because the book conflicts with that person or groups beliefs. In this country we allow anyone and everyone to voice their opinion, write what they feel, and record almost anything they want. John Stuart Mill wrote:" If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind...

But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error". On Liberty So to be honest, saying a group, a government agency, or even a single person is to blame for not censoring delicate material is crazy. The United States should not have any kind of censorship because the constitution says so. If something that is printed bothers a single person or group, don't read it. Do not try to say it is bad for everyone.

That is an opinion and not everyone agrees with it. It is as simple as that.