Band together against bans

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Band together against bans

—WC Editorial Board

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Freedom is so important in this country that it was embedded in the First Amendment of our Constitution. The First Amendment ensures the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the press and provides the right to peacefully assemble.

Unfortunately, these rights are not always protected, and even more unfortunately, this country’s history is spotted with instances of censorship.

Censorship comes in all shapes and sizes, but this week we’re focused on the bound and printed 5.5×8.5 variety.

So, we encourage our readers to celebrate Banned Books Week by reading books that were once omitted by libraries and prohibited from schools. The opposite of censorship is always obtaining knowledge, especially knowledge that others are fearful of you possessing. Here is our top five list of the best reads that may have never been read:

Honorable mention: “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Although this sweet children’s book is not necessarily college level reading, we wanted to include it on our list simply because it should never have appeared on any banned book list. This book is a simple, childish fantasy complete with cute pictures. 

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

It seems bizarre that this cherished piece of American literature was banned. The book does contain several uses of the profane terms. It was thought to be improper. Since that time, we have come to learn that the dirty, demeaning words in the text were simply used to illustrate the racism and language of the time Lee portrayed. In the end, the book turns out to be one of the best stories of triumph over racism and hate.

“1984” by George Orwell

It seems almost ironic that a book about an overbearing government in a would be censored, but apparently some scholars found the themes to be too red to be read by the common people. In reality, it has become one of the most read books by high school students and among the best sellers. It offers a frightening glimpse into our distopian future, in a world where all books would be banned.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey

Kesey certainly tested the limits in this text. Despites its award-winning status, it continues to be challenged. A mere 11 years ago, a school district in California looked to ban the book due to the fact that it contains scenes

of smothering. 

“The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair

Sinclair may have been an infamous muckraker, but he was also an excellent writer. “The Jungle” illuminated the dark world of the meat packing industry in 1906. Although the book caused a rush of reform in the food industry, including the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, it continues to reap criticism for its graphic content.

“Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie

This is perhaps the most controversial piece on our list. Although Rushdie makes a point to claim he is an obedient Muslim, this book was widely found to be blasphemous to the prophet Mohammed. It is important to realize this text was intended to be a novel and not a statement of religious opinion or a prophetic piece of writing. Religious views should never cause a text to be censored, and for this reason, the Satanic Verses tops our list.