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Should Controversial Literature Ever be Banned?

Books have been burned and banned throughout history, some in very public ways. We should always remember that harsh reality so that we never repeat that practice.



Books seem relatively harmless with their artful covers and enticing titles. The biggest danger being a mere paper cut.

However, the words inside can pack a powerful punch – so powerful, some of history’s literary classics have ended up banned by schools, libraries and bookstores, such as, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Great Gatsby” and “The Color Purple.”

I do not agree with the practice of blacklisting books on the fundamental notion of intellectual freedom.

The American Library Association defines intellectual freedom as “the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.”

When an organization decides to not include a book on the basis of what a few people think of it, they are restricting other individuals from exercising their right to obtain any information they wish.

Just because you are offended by some words or an idea portrayed in a book does not mean that I should not be able to read the novel and form my own opinion.

Discretion, which is the freedom to choose what should be done in a specific situation, is different from banning books. Essentially, it is a branch of intellectual freedom. Just as one can choose what they do read, they can also choose what they do not read.

Parents should most definitely exercise discretion when it comes to what their children view. They have a responsibility to their children to protect them from adult themes that may be beyond the child’s understanding or maturity.

But an adult should not be able to tell another adult what they are not allowed to read. I don’t mind a suggestion or a rating – reviews can be helpful in not wasting your time. But I want the ability to read that book even if all the reviews are horrible.

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