Censorship In To Kill A Mockingbird

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Imagine you are in front of a class, teaching To Kill a Mockingbird to a group of high-schoolers. Over the course of the unit, your students praise the book, saying that it educated them about racial tensions in the South and the meaning of bravery among other important life lessons. However, you still receive numerous strongly-worded phone calls and emails from angry parents demanding the literary classic be removed from the curriculum for containing the word “nigger” and rape. You don’t understand – how can a novel of such significance and acclaim be condemned just for including a couple of pages with adult themes? The answer is censorship. For as long as there has been media and people to consume that media, censorship has prevailed over…show more content…
Mass entertainment, such as book, films, and TV, capture glimpses of the harsh realities many face, from the racial abuse endured by Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird to the inner workings of a deranged dictator in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. When censorship comes in to erase these themes, it’s essentially brainwashing readers, and to an extent, the public, into believing that the world is this pure, saintly place of wholesome perfection when that is far from the truth. For instance, the society depicted by Ray Bradbury in his science-fiction magnum opus, Fahrenheit 451, is a vapid one devoid of emotions and imagination who are driven by government propaganda to think, act, and believe a certain way. Captain Beatty, the fire chief, summed it up perfectly when he stated,…show more content…
In defense of censorship, parents cry out “Think of the children!” and religious organizations clamor “That’s not what the Bible said!” There are so many instances of this occurrence that it’s almost like clockwork in its unchanging regularity, as made evident throughout “Light Out, Huck.” In Kakutani’s piece, she lists several examples of this, but high school teacher, John Foley, and his comments from 2009 stand out in particular: “The time has arrived to update the literature we use in high school classrooms...novels that use the ‘N-word’ repeatedly need to go.” An author’s employment of mature elements to construct a realistic backdrop in order to make the narrative more realistic and identifiable to the reader is misconstrued by Foley and many other naysayers of anti-censorship as the author encouraging vulgar behavior. It’s absurd to think a story set in the deep South in the 19th century won’t have a couple racial slurs sprinkled here and there, similar to believing a story set in the modern world won’t have incessant references to the Internet or social media. If anything, one should think of an author’s story as a jigsaw puzzle – bits like curse words and sex scenes aren’t the big picture the puzzle is meant
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