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Justin Morwood

Professor Parry

English 2010

22 February 2017

Censoring: Is it Good or Bad?

In schools throughout the United States, books are being taken away or censored from the

shelves due to offensive language, sexual content, or other somewhat offensive material. While

some say that putting books on the do not read list is ideal for students, others argue that the

books should remain for all to read, despite their obscene substances. The decision of whether or

not to censor literary works, although seemingly miniscule, affects students, teachers and parents

alike. Either a parent may feel that their student is being exposed to the horrors of life and should

refrain from reading that material, or they may believe that some realities found in literature are

important to the growth of their child. This controversy in schools has created an uproar in

literature, and the problem is continuing to expand. Each side of the battle can bring both

contentment and resentment to the grounds, revealing that the controversy of banishing certain

literature is an ever-heated discussion. Authors Martha T. Moore, Adriana Lopez, and Colete

Bancroft all express their different views in their articles about censoring or banning books.

Moore supports the banning, Lopez believes it takes away from peoples rights, and Bancroft

feels that there are both good and bad outcomes from banning books. The different viewpoints of

these three authors illustrate the complexity of this controversy, and each author delivers her

belief through experiences or thoughtful remarks, yet the opposition presented by Lopez towards

banning literature in schools is the most effective at progressing this controversy to being solved.
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Martha T. Moore, in her article Huck Finn Navigating Choppy Waters Again,

believes that removing potentially injurious content from the hands of students is ideal when

teaching literature. She uses the example of Huck Finn to display the effects that such content

may produce. Dissimilar to the other two sources, her views on censoring are backed up by

information stating that censoring is helpful and needed in schools in order for students to feel

comfortable. In the new publications of the novel, racially provoking phrases are replaced with

words such as slave. Through the words of Alan Gribben, Moore states that the use of the new

word brought an audible sigh of relief from those listening (1). Moore feels that the audience,

whether they be reading for entertainment or for their literature course, would feel much more

content with the replacement phrases in this new edition of Huck Finn. Moore says, Its for

readers who cannot get past the slur to take in the rest of the book, (1). Although the racial

phrase displays the seriousness of racism in Twains day, Moore wants students to not be

tormented by their hurtful connotations. Unlike the other two authors, Moores article demands

that the government censors said slurs and books to protect the common student who may take

offense. Moore knows that Mark Twain used the racial epithet for a reason, but she also knows

that children and students do not need to be exposed to that kind of language in the safeness of a

classroom.

Banning books, according to Adrian Lopez in her article Literary Censorship in Schools

Impedes Progress is completely wrong. Lopez, disagreeing with the other two authors, states,

Its absolutely ludicrous that public schools would deprive students of their right to a

well-rounded education based on such a minute factor, (2). She strongly supports that students,

despite others thinking the content is too offensive, should have a chance to explore life outside
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their own. Lopez says that the offensive content found in literature gives students a taste of what

life is like outside their own reality, and it prompts them to not repeat what is found there.

Lopezs view differs from the other sources in that she wants the people to reserve their rights

when reading literature. For example, parents should not be able to force another parents child

to not read certain books. Instead, each family or individual should decide on their own whether

or not they want to read the works. She claims that if a student were to read offensive language

or content in literature, they will be more aware of their society, and they will want to benefit

their communities more. Lopez wants books to be available to all, despite the views of protective

parents or teachers.

In the article, Ban a Book, Draw Readers, Colete Bancroft both upholds and

disapproves of banning literature. Although, like Moore, she sees the importance of censoring,

Bancroft also supports Lopezs point of view. She recounts a story of when she was in high

school and the teacher forbade them from reading a suggestive chapter. She states that because

the teacher announced that the class should not read the chapter, the students only wanted to read

it more. Bancroft, although she believes that some content is not unanimously beneficial for

students, says that schools should not ban or censor books if they do not want their students

reading them. Bancroft states that when parents or schools attempted to censor what the students

were reading in schools, they no doubt made it irresistible to many of the young people they

were trying to protect, (1). Bancroft declares that it is only human nature to want to be

rebellious against what others say people should do. Her article both agrees and disagrees with

Lopezs and Moores in that she sees the good and the bad of censoring literature. Bancroft says,

Certainly parents are right to stay aware of what their young children are reading, (Tampa Bay
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Times), but she also states that banning content is what leads to the exploration of these

suggestive or offensive books. Bancroft sees both sides of the argument, realizing the seriousness

of the issue, and she knows that the controversy will be ever present in society.

Throughout my years of high school, I have come to believe that, like Adriana Lopez,

schools should not ban or censor books. The content that may seem too explicit or offensive to

some readers provides a path to someone elses reality and helps students to see what life is or

was actually like for characters in the literature. I too feel that it should be up to the individual or

family to decide what should be censored and what should not be. Moores and Bancrofts

articles prove some important points about the censorship of books, and they spoke of situations

where controversy is high, but I hold with Lopez. Lopezs argument is strong, logical, and

convincing, and she effectively delivers her point, making it easy to understand what she stands

behind. Banning or censoring literature should not be required, and books should be left how

they are, ready to be explored.


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Works Cited

Bancroft, Colete. "Ban a Book, Draw Readers." Tampa Bay Times, 29 May 2016, pp. 1. SIRS

Issues Researcher, http://sks.sirs.com.

Copeland, Roger. "Classroom Censorship does Not Protect Against Real World Experiences."

University Wire, 20 Nov, 2015, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.

Lopez, Adriana. "Literary Censorship in Schools Impedes Progress." University Wire, 18 Apr

2016, SIRS Issues Researcher, http://sks.sirs.com.

McNeil, Jordan. "Let's Talk about it Instead of Banning it." University Wire, 15 Feb, 2016, SIRS

Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.

Moore, Martha T. "'Huck Finn' Navigating Choppy Waters again." USA TODAY, 06 Jan 2011,

pp. A.3. SIRS Issues Researcher, http://sks.sirs.com.