For as long as I can remember I have been a fan of literature; my nose has been in a book from the time I could read. Throughout the decades there has been a slow change in the face of literature. What was once considered a classic novel that must be read has slowly become books that should not be read and are banned from our young readers. Schools no longer teach on specific works, libraries no longer carry them. Books I read in high school a little over 10 years ago are now on the list of books that are banned. If we keep banning novels how are kids today supposed to see the beauty of literature, what passion and convictions authors contain in their works. Banning these books stifles literature freedom. How can one learn of the world if many books that are deemed controversial are banned from libraries and schools?
Many of the books on the banned or challenged list are novels I read in middle school, high school, and college. And I understand why some books shouldn’t be taught to middle schoolers, but high school is different. Teens in high school are able to handle the story of The Great Gatsby or The Sun Also Rises. Middle School can handle Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. It teaches them about a time period, yes there are words and actions that are unfavorable, but that is where the teacher comes in and explains this was common in that era and one of the reasons why people fought for a change; fought for something different. Literature is one of the best ways for someone to understand what a time period was truly like because the dialect and mannerism comes across through the characters.
I remember getting excited about being able to choose which books I wanted to read in high school which included “Portrait of Dorian Grey”, “Jane Eyre”, and “Diary of a Young Girl (Ann Frank).” These books helped me learn and understand literature better. Later just for fun I read Ernest Hemingway’s novel and got different perspective on writing styles. Later on reading Malcom X’ autobiography opened my eyes to the things this man endured and things he accomplished. Yes it was graphic and reader’s discretion is advised, but the story needed to be graphic in order to be true to his life. Sometimes graphic scenes are necessary to get the point across, to tell the entire story. That’s what authors do, they use their words to describe things even if it is the most gruesome of tales. It would be like watching a gruesome or even sexual scene in a movie rather than reading it across a page; is there a difference? No. So why the books with these things that people find offensive or inappropriate should be banned? They shouldn’t. Discretion is always the key when it comes to books, movies, video games, anything that could contain material that may be inappropriate or obscene. For example why is the Bible on the banned list but not other holy works?
If you think something is inappropriate or obscene and don’t think the book should be read, simply don’t read it. If your kid needs to read it for school and you don’t want them to ask for an alternate novel the child can read. Literature is something to be read and interpreted as each reader deems fit. Why is there a need to try to censor literature that are classics, or literature that could make an impact on someone or society whether it is good or bad? Look at 50 Shades of Grey, I honestly am not a fan of the series and think it is distasteful, but that is my opinion and I have the freedom to read it or not read it at my own choice. I should also be able to go the library and be able to borrow Dracula, for some reason that doesn’t seem to be reasonable. I read banned books for the literary quality you will find in them. If I read a review about there being unfavorable content then I simply will not read the book. Instead of banning all these novels or challenging novels, let readers decide for themselves whether or not a book is deemed a “must read” or a “never read.”