There has recently been a renewed interest and passion in the issue of censorship. In the realm of the censorship of books in schools alone, several hundred cases have surfaced each year for nearly the past decade. Controversies over which books to include in the high school English curriculum present a clash of values between teachers, school systems, and parents over what is appropriate for and meaningful to students. It is important to strike a balance between English that is meaningful to students by relating to their lives and representing diversity and satisfying worries about the appropriateness of what is read. This burden often falls on teachers. The purpose of this research paper is to discuss censorship in schools and to argue that the censorship of books in the high school English curriculum is limiting and takes away literature that is meaningful to students.
How a Book is Censored
Brinkley describes a few actions that can lead to the censoring of a book in a school or school system: An expression of concern is simply a question about the material with overtones of disapproval; an oral complaint is an oral challenge to the contents of a work; a written complaint is a formal written challenge to the school about the contents of a work; and a public attack is a public statement challenging the contents of a work that is made outside of the school, usually to the media to gain support for further action (1999). Brinkley also points out an important difference between selection and censorship: Selection is the act of carefully choosing works for an English course that will be age-appropriate, meaningful, and fulfill objectives, while censorship is the act of excluding works that some con...
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...nts out that censors often pick out very short passages of a work without taking into account its context in the entire scheme of the novel.
Shen, F. (2002 September 24). Off the shelf; Who should decide what books you read? The Washington Post, pp.2. Retrieved December 2, 2002 from Lexis-Nexis/Academic database.
This article addresses some of the reasons that censors attempt to remove books from the curriculum: Many censors feel that works are not age appropriate for students.
Staff, Wire Reports. (2002 October 3). Book banning spans the globe. The Houston Chronicle, pp.C14. Retrieved December 2, 2002 from Lexis-Nexis/Academic database.
This article emphasizes the point that censors go too far when they attempt to not only ban a book for their own children but want to remove it altogether from a school library, so that other students cannot read it.
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