Embracing Banned Books | Teen Ink

Embracing Banned Books MAG

January 1, 2010
By Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand


How many students in school today recently spent a quiet weekend at home with the Harry Potter books? How many others doggedly applied themselves to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or The Catcher in the Rye, trying to glean enough understanding for an acceptable book report? Both experiences are common to many high-school students. Unfortunately, these books are no longer available to some teenagers whose ­parents and educators have deemed them ­unacceptable.

Throughout the last few years, many parents and professionals have made an attempt to remove books they feel are “inappropriate” from the hands of students. These novels are categorized this way for a variety of reasons, including drug use, violence, sexuality, and profanity; some, like the Harry Potter books, have even been accused of endorsing occultism and Satanism. In light of these claims, many libraries, schools, and teachers have been forced to remove them from coursework and ­collections.

While some may panic when exposed to ideas different from their own, in my opinion, the broadening of the mind through literature is never wrong. When scholars read books of “questionable” substance, their moral values and beliefs are challenged, tested, and often, ultimately strengthened. As young adults, only we really know if we are mature enough to cope with a particular subject matter. If the truth is that we are not, our parents should ensure that we don't read books that call for a higher level of maturity. No one else should have the right to make that decision for an entire group of students. No school administrator, politician, or government official should be able to eradicate our freedom to enjoy the written word as we please.

Personally, when I am searching for a new novel, I prefer to select one that will expose me to new ideas, sometimes drastically different from my own. Books of philosophy, debates, and novels based in ancient civilizations (especially Greek and Roman) are guaranteed to present new concepts, whether about the meaning of love, the idea of fate, or other philosophical ideas. Reading authors from other eras helps us understand that other cultures often embrace ideas and lifestyles that our society has struggled with. For example, in the times of early thinkers like Socrates and Aristotle, homosexuality was widely accepted, and not a subject of contention or debate. Very different from today's world, wouldn't you say?

I strongly urge teenage readers to find novels and stories that challenge you, and force you to think outside your comfort zone. Do not dismiss a writer's work because you disagree with the character's opinions or values; instead, face these conflicting beliefs head on. Because if you are unwilling to test your opinion, how can you be sure it is truly your opinion at all?


The author's comments:
I was inspired to write this piece a few weeks ago. I had entered the local library, and was desperately searching for a book I had heard about from a friend over the Internet. After an hour of scouring the shelves, I had given up nearly all hope of unearthing the novel, and had dragged my feet over to the librarian. She had seen me looking over the shelves, and asked what I was looking for. To my utter dismay and horror, I learned that my long sought after story had been removed from the inventory, as it had received many complaints nationwide concerning its contents…

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This article has 36 comments.


on May. 4 2011 at 5:41 pm
claire-baire BRONZE, Lafayette, Louisiana
4 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
you wouldn't have to get over me if you were still under me

I tottaly agree with abe. The Hunger Games are ment for young adult readers and if that girl and her mom had problems with it, why not talk to the teacher instead of having that book banned. Also, books that have profanity, I can only say a few words about that. We hear worse at school from other children.

on Oct. 17 2010 at 2:51 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

Hm, it makes one wonder why the mother could not simply have talked to her child about the book, or worked a personally arrangement out with the child's educator, rather than infringing on the rights of the entire class (or school, whichever the case may be).  But it is as you said, people are hard to understand sometimes.
Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it!

on Oct. 17 2010 at 2:49 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

That is very interesting - I would certainly enjoy hearing more about that story and what you've uncovered, particularly whenever a decision is made regarding the book's removal from the course. I must admit I am very surprised - though pleased - the author recommended this article. Nonetheless, I hope that all goes well with your research, and whenever your article is finished, and I would very much like to read it if possible. Thank you very much for your comment and story! -Abe

FranzyPants said...
on Oct. 17 2010 at 1:46 pm

I write for my high school newspaper and recently received a lede that a mom is trying to ban a book from the freshman CA curriculum. In following this story, I've learned about the book "reconsideration" process, court cases regarding student first amendment rights, etc. Contact me if you'd be interested in learning more.

The book in question is "The Body of Christopher Creed." The author, in fact, turned me onto your article.

-C


on Oct. 13 2010 at 4:45 pm
HOPEfully SILVER, Clayton, North Carolina
6 articles 1 photo 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
My Cinderella. She is real. She exists. I pray for her constantly. May God satisfy the desires of her heart, draw her close, consume her. May He claim her passions, her identity, her refuge, her hopes, her strengths and weaknesses -Adam Young

great article.

i do not under stand why some books are banned. i mean it showed be taken to a school board vote or something? why in the world should 1 parent change the rules.

Example: When The Hunger Games (my favorite book in the universe) gave an 11 year old girl nightmares, her mother had the book banned.

 The Hunger Games is a Young adult novel!!!!!!

i  don't get people

 


on Sep. 26 2010 at 7:40 am
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

Thank you! I appreciate it!
As for how long it takes work to approved, it generally depends on what category your work falls under. Nonfiction and opinion pieces rarely take more than three weeks or so, fiction pieces take a little bit longer, and it can take anywhere between one to two months on some poetry pieces.

amybug said...
on Sep. 2 2010 at 5:14 pm
amybug, Penrose, Colorado
0 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Always remeber there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name." -The Avett Brothers

Five stars, and has been added to my favorites! Great, Great job! I love it! I know its been said before, but especially the last paragraph! Also you had your opion piece placed in the magazine, so do you have any idea how long it takes before your story is put on the website, and the message will no longer say pending? I've been waiting for probably two weeks now.

on May. 10 2010 at 4:17 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

Thank you, I appreciate it!

on May. 10 2010 at 4:03 pm
StephanieMichelle GOLD, Bledsoe, Kentucky
17 articles 8 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
The person, be it gentleman or lady, whom does not take pleasure in a good book must be incredibly stupid. --- Jane Austen

It's about time someone publically approached this issue. I love this article. It was beautifully expressed and beautifully written. I am in full agreement.

on May. 8 2010 at 3:39 pm
Shambler92 PLATINUM, Buenos Aires, Other
37 articles 0 photos 65 comments
glad you read it man. make sure you hear the audio reading by ginsberg himself, it's illumination man.

on May. 8 2010 at 3:34 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

Thank you! :-)

on May. 8 2010 at 3:34 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

Just read it Shambler, and I can't believe it got banned! I mean, slighty obscene on occasion, but that merely added to the voice - if others are offended, there's nothing to say that they have to reread it...
Great. Now I'm mad about it all over again, ;-)

on May. 8 2010 at 3:32 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

I know, it would seem that way. *Rolls eyes* But the politicians nowadays could find a loophole in anything. Anywho, thanks for reading!

on May. 8 2010 at 3:31 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

Thanks Jean - and I quite enjoyed that math humor. ;-)

on May. 8 2010 at 2:22 pm
HeatherBee BRONZE, I Live In, Texas
1 article 0 photos 1985 comments

Favorite Quote:
Go on and try to tear me down. I will be rising from the ground, like a skyscraper

Love is louder than the pressure to be perfect

i really liked the last paragraph!!!!!!

serena said...
on May. 3 2010 at 6:57 pm

I agree. It seems like banning books would violate the right to free speech, wouldn't it? But for a lot of banned books the author is dead and can't protest that he's being censored. I think that the right to free speech ought to include a right to read what we want.

censorship/banned books vs. the first amendment-- that would be an interesting report if someone had to write an essay for school...


on May. 2 2010 at 10:32 am
Shambler92 PLATINUM, Buenos Aires, Other
37 articles 0 photos 65 comments

yeah.

Oh and I forgot to put HOWL by Allen Ginsberg, the greatest american poem of the 20th century, it was taken to trial for obscenity.

Read it. READ IT.


MiriamH said...
on May. 1 2010 at 11:14 pm
MiriamH, Mequon, Wisconsin
0 articles 0 photos 92 comments

Favorite Quote:
“I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it’ll make sense.”

I suggest sending them to the superintendant along with a note asking him/her to pass it on.

JeanGrey GOLD said...
on Apr. 20 2010 at 12:21 am
JeanGrey GOLD, Mason City, Iowa
10 articles 0 photos 258 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying."-Oscar Wilde

*nods in agreement* I support this 99.99% + .01 lol little math nerd humor I tried...not every good at it unfortunately. Anyways, outstanding!

on Apr. 19 2010 at 7:06 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

Indeed there must be spatterpunk - join the revolution!

*Omnious dark music*



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