Banned Book Week takes place Sept. 18-24. Although the average college student may not be taking classes that require hefty literature reading, picking up a book is still an enriching and enlightening experience that people can enjoy. And no better book to pick up and start this week than a banned book!
College student curriculum bans little, but paying attention to high school banned books can give an insight to some fascinating literature. While a book that has been stripped from shelves may be for sexually explicit reasons, they are often books that are political and challenge thinking about the government or current humanities issues. These examples include “1984” and “Brave New World.”
Furthermore, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a prime example of a novel that challenged racial injustice in American society in an honest lense, thus receiving a ban. Yet, this book can be eye-opening and impactful in creating well-rounded citizens of society.
In short, these are usually the novels that tackle realistic and difficult issues. They may be deemed as inappropriate or propaganda in a classroom, but challenge the thinking of the reader much further than the average fantasy series.
Reading banned books gives the audience a chance to put themselves in the shoes of characters unlike themselves – it can provide a new understanding that a news broadcast or history textbook can’t provide via a format the builds vocabulary and intellect.
Banned books can also end up tackling issues that students may be facing such as racism, sexism and homophobia. The book could provide the representation they need, but requiring representation of yourself also extends beyond the walls of high school, making this books enriching at any stage of life.
Currently, common books under the threat of being banned have been topical of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community and banning these books is a form of oppression on the communities. The banning of books can be seen as a restriction of the voice of the people.
Many classics of today are banned books of yesterday. Consider the impact that banned books can have on society and creating empathetic citizens. What is trying to be censored by schools is important to pay attention to, otherwise, we might find ourselves in the society of “1984.” Of course though, we wouldn’t know it unless we’d read the book.