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The Problem Is *********** Essay

1718 words - 7 pages

The Problem is *********
The United States has promised its citizens the basic rights to speech and free press since the founding of our nation. But in 1821, our country took its first steps towards censorship when the 1748 novel Fanny Hill was banned for containing offensive and vulgar language as well as detailing the less than glamorous life of a prostitute. The tradition of removing books from schools for their questionable content has carried on into the twenty first century with the banning of several extremely popular books such as Harry Potter, for its use of witchcraft as a key plot point, The Hunger Games, for its graphic descriptions of children slaying one another on live ...view middle of the document...

This can be achieved by setting a list of criteria for books in school libraries based on three categories: determining what books should be introduced to which age groups, whether or not a book has sexually explicit material that goes into too much detail, and lastly, whether or not a book has relevant moral lesson.
The first set of criteria that should be examined in order to determine a books appropriateness is to control what books are read depending on age. While yes, I agree that it is important for students to exercise their literary freedom I also believe that premature exposure to certain subject can be potentially harmful if it is not regulated. Younger students should be limited to more introductory level books that while still achieving the purpose in stimulating critical thought development, do not do so in a way that is age appropriate. For example, elementary and middle school students can begin reading books like Bridge to Terabithia, and The Giver which both explore some challenging subjects like mortality, do so in a way that is still suitable for that age group. Meanwhile, the compromise would allow older students to continue studying the more thought provoking material. It is important for us as adults to have more faith when it comes to adolescents. For instance: Peter Scales in his essay in Censorship: Opposing Viewpoints, emphasizes that too much censorship is an indicator of “society’s lack of confidence in itself” (131). By saying this, Scales reinforces the fact that one of the things that has caused an overabundance of censorship in American schools is the fact that parents and school officials by sheltering students, have shown that they have little to no faith in the students, and that they do not trust them to take what they read and learn from it without reacting negatively. Scales elaborates further by providing a good compromise by stating that if parents do not think their children should read something that they should be able to explain to them why they believe this then perhaps allow them to read it when they reach an acceptable age. It is important for adolescents to have freedom of the mind, but it is healthier for the mind that they only encounter that which they are prepared to read and understand (132).
The Second indicator to gauge whether or not a book should be banned or not is the degree of detail that the book goes into in regards to sexually explicit or graphic descriptions or language. I think that most adults can agree that books such as Fifty Shades have no place in school libraries due its blatantly pornographic nature. It is cases like this when those who lobby for complete liberation from censorship sometimes falter in their argument. Authors like Will Manley, in his essay supporting censorship in Censorship: Opposing Viewpoints, seem to respond to this point by simply stating that while the Constitution technically allows the publication of such books, it does not however mean that...

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