Does Banning Books do More Harm than Good?

Fahrenheit 451 has been banned and challenged in some school districts for the violence and profanity in it as well as how it depicts bibles being burned. (Photo used by permission of Barnes and Noble)

Banning books can be a controversial subject because of the number of factors that lead to a book being banned. Intense language, mentions of violence, and racial themes are some of the most common reasons books can be challenged. Parents can complain about books being too mature for schools and try to have them removed from curriculums and school libraries.

But a lot of people think that banning books from school is unreasonable. By trying to protect children from being exposed to the sensitive material, they could prevent students from being exposed at all.

A lot of the books that get challenged like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, and The Bluest Eye deal with racism. Parents also question if books like Lord of the Flies with explicit violence and vulgar language is appropriate to teach. Books are also challenged because of how they portray religion or the philosophy of it. For example, parents challenged Fahrenheit 451 for violence, profanity, and depicting Bibles being burned.

It’s incredibly ironic that Fahrenheit 451, a book about the dangers of eliminating media that challenge people’s worldviews, is being banned because people don’t like how it depicts bibles being burned and for its profanity.

The book takes place in a dystopian society where the government has outlawed books and firemen are tasked with burning illegal books. Beatty, the firemen captain, is the character who enacts the masses’ desire to not have media that challenges them. Beatty tells the main character Guy Montag that books are dangerous because they have the possibility to offend people and they give people conflicting perspectives of the world. Because people care more about the possibility of people being offended or uncomfortable, the quality of information decreases and people who read are considered dangerous to society.

Young adult books like The Fault in Our Stars, Looking For Alaska, and The Hate U Give have been banned in some school libraries for mentions of drug use and sexual themes. Even though these books are marketed towards teens they are banned for being “too mature”.

People consider those classics like that portray past societal norms and critique humanity great precisely because it makes people question their way of thinking. Great literature is meant to challenge societal norms or worldviews that people hold. Ignoring controversial subjects of the past and the present doesn’t fix a problem; instead children grow up in a bubble of ignorance.


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