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More Schools Are Banning American Classics

Caeley O'Connor

Posted on September 17, 2021 22:52

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More and more books are being challenged and banned from school curriculums every year. These books were once hailed as classics.

In recent years, more and more books are being removed and banned from school curriculums. Many of these same books were ones I was instructed to read in high school and found little to no problem discussing the content.
Among this ever-growing list of books are novels once hailed as classics such as “The Great Gatsby,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and “Of Mice and Men.” All of these books, excluding “To Kill a Mockingbird,” were among the books in my high school curriculum.
These books have been banned from many schools throughout America for their use of racial slurs, sexual references, and profanity. While these factors are understandably frowned upon, I must argue that people should also keep in mind when these books were written as well as the background of the various authors.
For instance, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published in 1885, nearly 80 years before the Civil Rights Act was passed. The way characters spoke to each other in the book is simply how people spoke to each other during the 1800s. By refusing to have students read these books, we start to erase our history.
“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck was published in 1937 and has been challenged countless times for its racial slurs and stereotypes, vulgarity, and treatment of women. However, Steinbeck was interested in writing a book that was historically accurate and reflected the times in which the book is set in. In this case, “Of Mice and Men” is set during the Great Depression.
The book was praised for its realism and earned Steinbeck the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1962. Now, it is being criticized and even banned for its content, which is historically accurate to the time the book is set in.
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is also among the list of banned and challenged books and is set in 1922. It has been challenged for its vulgar language, use of curse words, and dealing with topics that are not appropriate for students.
People are offended that high school students are reading books that contain violence and curse words. However, are these two things not prevalent in today’s society? Violence happens in the real world. People curse in the real world. Students will figure this out eventually if they haven’t already, whether they read about it in books or not.
I read “The Great Gatsby” when I was a sophomore in high school and had no trouble reading the book and discussing the various topics with my classmates. Additionally, “The Great Gatsby” has been hailed as an American classic for decades and was even made into a major motion picture in 2013.
What books are we going to ban next? “The Crucible” because it’s about the Salem witch trials and that’s offensive toward women? “Romeo and Juliet” because it involves violence and suicide?
You can ban books all you want, but you cannot ban history.

Caeley O'Connor

Posted on September 17, 2021 22:52

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