Banned Books Resources
Here are 100 banned books that you should read today!
Wollstonecraft Concept Map
Huck Finn Selections
Scene from Fahrenheit 451
Here is a classic scene from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 where it is the job of Firemen to burn books.
Real Book Burning
For centuries, governments have been in the business of banning books. This concept goes as far back as great Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. Plato, writer of The Republic, was a forward thinker for his time. However, he had a very conservative view of literature and poetry. In fact, he believed poetry to be a dangerous evil in society. He saw poets as contributing to the vulgar evils in the world. This is interesting since this comes from a man who so genuinely sought to give his students a "real" education--meaning an education with a deep understanding of the world.
Since Plato, hundreds and hundreds of books have been banned for various reasons, including classics such as Uncle Tom's Cabin, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Scarlet Letter--all of which are now widely taught in public schools. The most common reasons tend to relate to moral objections to content. Usually these objections come from communities or individuals who feel that certain content is not suitable and should be removed from libraries and schools. This type of objection has come in many forms throughout time, such as the objection of literature discussing the rights of women, the abolition of slavery, or even the rights of men and women to live in a democratic society. More recently, objections tend to revolve around obscenity concerns. Writings that criticize mainstream religious beliefs, such as Aayan Hirsi Ali's infidel, have also come under scrutiny under the umbrella of moral objection in the last century. In Ali's book, she recounts growing up as a woman in an extremist Muslim society. She has faced many death threats for writing the TRUTH. Censorship and book banning continues to be a hot topic issue in our society.
Even today, despite the comparative liberal society in which we live, books still face challenges and have been the source of much debate. Remember when Harry Potter was banned from elementary school libraries? Even A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh has been the subject of challenge because some people believed that the character of Winnie the Pooh promoted Devil worship.
The fundamental questions that we must ask about censorship are as follows:
1. "Should certain books be banned?"
2. "Do people/governments have the right to ban books in a society where free speech is granted by the First Amendment?"
3. "Just because one person or group objects to a specific piece of literature, do they have the right to restrict other people from reading it?"
4. "What are the societal consequences of censorship and sheltering from the truth?"
We will cover all of this and more. This unit will hopefully help you explore the various ideas about book banning throughout history and yes, you will be reading some historically banned books!
Frederick Douglass Biography
Banned Book Lectures
Here are a few lectures by two Arizona State University professors, Dr. Joe Lockard and Dr. Jim Blasingame, as they discuss the issues related to the banning of books. These are the audio files. Check out the YouTube videos with visuals below!
Lecture 1 (audio)
Lecture 2 (audio)
Lecture 3 (audio)
Lecture 4 (audio)