Banned Books and Traditional Values

by Kaitlyn Pease

Throughout my life I have loved to read. It has been my escape from reality. I put myself in the author’s books and look at life through the main characters eyes. As a teen I was required to read To Kill A Mockingbird in order to pass high school. As I am going through the banned books list online I notice TKAM is on this list. Yes this book is explicit, but it is real.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.- Atticus Finch”

When I read the above quote I felt how real and raw it was. I feel that our students and society should be exposed to the rawness of books, and what is inside them. Schools and libraries have become familiar with book banning. Book censorship is the removal of a book from the shelf of a library. It can be enacted at the national or subnational level, and can carry legal penalties. Book banning is not only carried out because of the things people say but because it disrupts our view of traditional values. Book banning/book censorship should be stopped.

What are traditional values and what does it have to do with book banning/censorship? Traditional values refer to those beliefs, moral codes, and mores that are passed down from generation to generation within a culture or a community. Tradition or traditional values has a lot to do with book banning/censorship because as an individual we have our own traditional values and belief system that our parents have passed down to us. For an example as a child I was not censored with books. My mom is a bookworm and cannot stop reading, so she encouraged us to read as much as possible. My mom never limited us on the books we wanted to read, and never told us what we could and could not read. She encouraged every type of literature. But in society this may not be acceptable, and it may be against people’s traditional values, so in order to make everyone happy books get banned/censored.

The reason books get banned/censored is because some traditional values are being compromised. Some of the reasons books are being banned/censored is because they contain profanity, violence, sex or sex education, homosexuality, witchcraft, new age philosophies, portrayals of rebellious children, or politically incorrect racist or sexual language. All of these things can be compromised in traditional values. It should not come down to book banning/censorship in order to keep our traditional values. Books teach students and adults about life in ways that others cannot teach these things. Sometimes it takes reading a book to fully understand a concept or to understand how the world perceives something, even though this book is filled with racist or sexual language, or violence. Books should be cherished and held onto just like our traditional values.

Some may believe that books should be banned/censored and I can understand why. There is a lot a child can learn from a book, but eventually they are going to learn it whether or not their parent tells them or if someone at school tells them. Some books are too explicit for children to read especially at a young age. For an example I used to work at a daycare and in one of my classrooms there was a book about our body parts, and at first the book was really cute, it was asking the children where are your fingers, where is your nose, where are your ears, etc. and then I flip to the next page and it is asking where our privates are and at that age I did not believe that was appropriate so I took the book out of the classroom. I did not throw the book away or ban it from the daycare because I do believe that at a certain age children need to learn about their body parts and children start to become curious and ask about their parts, so in a way that book is perfect for when the time is right.

Some books do not hold on to one’s traditional values, and it may scare them to accept the fact that our traditional values are changing. Banning books helps keep our world look safe, and it withholds our traditional values. I am for traditional values, as I withhold some as well. I understand why some may want to hold onto these traditional values, and compromising them with books that withstand their values is not best fit. Some books are not met for everyone, and if not reading them best suits one, then so be it. I do see where book banning/censorship can come into play but is does not need to come to that extent where book banning should be happening to protect our traditional values.

Books have impacted me greatly through my personal life and through my education. If it were not for books I could have not escaped when needed, I could have not learned things that I needed to learn. Books play a significant role in lives, and book banning/censorship should be put to a stop so people can experience books and learning to its fullest.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ―Haruki Murakami



9 thoughts on “Banned Books and Traditional Values

  1. Allyson Taylor

    I believe you made an excellent point , book banning is absurd. The thoughts that we are removing amazing literature from future generations is insane. Many things we encounter daily can be seen as offensive , or potential a trigger for victims, but this doesn’t mean we rid them of our lives. The mere exposure effect can help victims , just seeing something over and over again can help us not fear it as much. I think that by banning certain books , we are removing a piece of history. The only way for us to not repeat history is to know and understand it . If we do not ever see old literature we will never understand people in those times , or why they behaved those ways. It is our constitutional right to read any literature we would like. Freedom of speech and press are very important, often literature is the best way to communicate ideas. Many books we would not even think to be banned are on the list of banned items. If we can not learn to accept things that upset us , we will never be able to get over them.

  2. Mindy Raffler

    I myself am not much of a book reader. I prefer to wait for the movie. I have been spending an awful lot of time at the library though these past few months and it’s funny that I did notice a table that said “banned books.” I was wondering what the heck that was all about. The display was very creative: it had yellow caution tape wrapped around it and ribbons around the books that read “Banned.” A lot of famous well-known titles were on that table but the only one that I really remember from school was To Kill a Mockingbird. Really? How could they ban that book? It’s not only a classic but was something that all of us remember as a generation as part of our childhood. I can understand how books can be banned at public schools, after all we do need permission slips to view certain movies in public schools. At least we did when I was in school. But it is absurd to ban books in a library. It’s that persons’ choice to check the book out and read it. Nobody is forcing them to do it. In my opinion movies are so much more worse than books. Movies actually give the person the visual, rather it be a social topic such as racism or just a plain gruesome scene from a movie. Although I am not a book reader myself, I do believe books are a very important aspect of a persons’ development. Not only should children be encouraged to read all types of books but should also have access to these books.

  3. Molly Mieske

    The subject of book banning reminds me of a piece we read for class earlier in the year, The Coddling of the American Mind. It is quite interesting to see that books are being banned based on the content that they hold; sometimes the best way to learn about something is to read about it in a book. It seems crazy to me that we as a society are keeping people or children from reading certain books because they do not match what the parent or guardian feels is right. We are coddling the children or adolescents in today’s society because we do not feel that it is right for them to learn some topics and that is wrong. In TKAM, there are some parts of the book that are raw and have honesty in it but like you said before it is real, it is about real things or events that happened in society in that time, and it is important to learn and understand these things. While I do not feel that this issue has created two Americas at this current time, I think it is creating two Americas between generations. These books were not banned during our parent’s generations, but our parent’s childhood was not filled with coddling. A perfect example of this is the banned book list. TKAM especially plays out an important time in America’s history, and I think it is important for everyone to know, and we should not try to hide or ban things like these books, which is considered coddling.

  4. Kaitlin Fredericks

    I never was a heavy book reader until I got out of high school, and was able to understand really what books were about. When I had to read textbooks in high school, I hated it and did not get the big picture. Now, I read to relax because I can relate my life to the book. Book banning is wrong because it will affect the people like me. If books are banned because of content then people cannot see what real life is about, and what happens in the real world. Banning books is not going to stop the inappropriate things that go on in the real world. Why ban certain books for the content, if people cannot ban illegal activity that happens every day. It would stop people from reading about the negative activity, but not stop people from seeing it in real life. Schools also should not ban reading material because of their content because it is how some kids will learn how to deal with things in the real world. I would have never known how to handle some situations in the real world if I did not read about it. While I was in school, I got books about how to deal with certain situations in work or for everyday life. Those help kids that do not have experience with anything. They would be banned because of bad content, and students would never learn how to handle situations. The best books to read in my opinion are the books that are straight forward, and show the real affects so I can learn from it, not hide the negative content.

  5. James Kodet

    This is a really good topic because I do like to read from time to time but I never knew that schools or library’s banned books. I personally feel that there should not be any banned books because someone doesn’t agree with what the author had said or that they feel that is material that no one should read. because if it was something that no one should read it never would have been published. This also acts as a maturing stand point it allows a student to read something and handle the situation they are placed in. and if you think of it this way if you are banning the books because of bad content what are you doing to the kids when they go to the real world where there are no filters?

  6. Joseph Lorigan

    I enjoy reading so this is an interesting topic to me and I honestly had no idea schools and libraries ban certain books. I don’t agree with schools censoring books because of their content. Over the past year I have gotten into reading books much more and have come to enjoy reading much more. Censoring books is wrong because it would affect readers like me. Censoring books because of their content doesn’t allow students to get the bigger picture and see the opposing views from other authors that for some reason the school or library did not want the students to get to. Banning books won’t deny students the access to inappropriate things because of the use of the internet. How are students expected to learn to deal with adversity and people opposing their viewpoints if they can’t even read an opposing view in their own school or library? They can’t. Sometimes the best way to fully understand something is to hear the opposing view of of whatever the argument is.How are we as adults be able to judge what students learn and what they should not be learning? I don’t think it’s good for this generation or the future to determine what certain things students should be reading and what they should not be reading. This topic does create two Americas because it separates generations. Censoring books is wrong and something needs to be done to fix it. This was a very interesting topic to read about and I’m glad I learned more about it.

  7. Sicilee DAngelo

    This is a really a good topic because when libraries and schools do this they are sheltering there children/adults. How are people going to act like adults in adult like situations when everything they see or read is filtered or censored. Just because someone doesn’t agree with the author does not mean the book or piece of writing should be banned. This allows students to be able to learn from situations and learn to be mature. We cannot hide all bad things from people, if we did, no one could survive in the terrible, uncensored and un-filtered world we live in. I never knew schools or libraries went as far as banning books.

  8. Sicilee DAngelo

    This is a really a good topic because when libraries and schools do this they are sheltering there children/adults. How are people going to act like adults in adult like situations when everything they see or read is filtered or censored. Just because someone doesn’t agree with the author does not mean the book or piece of writing should be banned. This allows students to be able to learn from situations and learn to be mature. We cannot hide all bad things from people, if we did, no one could survive in the terrible, uncensored and un-filtered world we live in. I never knew schools or libraries went as far as banning books.

  9. Lydia Fehrenbach-Wells

    I truly find it amazing how many banned books are required reading in high schools. I was look at a list of them for work and realized that half the books I read in my AP Lit class were banned in other countries. Being exposed to banned books is very important. Many of these book have been banned because they contain material that the governments or religious groups find offensive. Banning books, in my opinion is a bad idea. It makes people want to read them more. I don’t think half as many people would have watched The Interview, if North Korea had not threatened to blow up movie theaters. Books are a very important part of growing as a person. People are often defined by their reading habits: reading constantly; never reading for pleasure; rarely reading; attempting to get through high school only using SparkNotes; only reading romance novels or horror books or Fifty Shades of Grey. Books are an amazing resource, but I do think that some of them should be approached with caution. A lot of banned books are banned for language and sexual content. I do not think they should be banned per se, but they should at least have a warning on them informing readers that they should be careful of the content of that book. Some books that are required reading in high school does have some “mature” content to it, but people need to be exposed to it. Ignoring things that makes one uncomfortable only makes one more ignorant towards that subject and the problem may get worse.

Leave a Reply