A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is the story of an American man by the name of Fredrick Henry who is fighting with the Italians during World War I. He eventually meets and falls in love with Catherine Barkley, an English nurse. He is wounded and hospitalized, which intensifies the relationship. He asks Catherine to marry him, but she refuses because she knows she will get taken away from the war front if she gets a marital status. Henry is sent to the front lines, and Catherine discovers she is pregnant. Henry becomes disillusioned with war, and he and Catherine escape to Switzerland. After a few months in Switzerland, however, their baby is stillborn, and Catherine dies of internal hemorrhaging. This novel was banned because of its vulgar language. Words such as whore, cocksucker, balls, son of a bitch, and others were removed from many publications of the novel. Some considered the novel to still be to risque, even with all the removals. It was also challenged for containing an illegitimate pregnancy.
To learn more, visit: http://www.enotes.com/a-farewell-to-arms-criticism/farewell-arms-ernest-hemingway
Source: Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova. “A Farewell to Arms.” 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. 2nd ed.New York: Checkmark, 2011. 489-92. Print.
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel is the story of a girl named Ayla, who is lost in the forest after a tremendous earthquake. She is found and taken by the Clan of the Cave Bear, who treat her differently based on how she looks and acts. She is blond with blue eyes and pale skin, and has a larger vocabulary than most of the members of the clan. She is able to hunt very well, a skill that is forbidden for the women of the clan, and that makes her an enemy of the clan leader’s son, Broud. Broud taunts her while they are young and later rapes her. She becomes pregnant, but is exiled from the clan soon after the birth of her son because Broud, who has by this time become clan leader, blames her for an earthquake. She is forced to leave her son behind. In 1988, 1992 and 1993, the novel was challenged in both middle schools and high schools for containing explicit and vulgar sexual content. Only in 1992 was it successfully removed from the school’s reading list and library.
Source: Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova. “The Clan of the Cave Bear.” 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. 2nd ed.New York: Checkmark, 2011. 347-48. Print.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a novel about a fifteen year old boy struggling with the obstacles and issues that he has faced. The novel is written in letter format, and the narrator goes by the name “Charlie” and changes all of the names of the people in his letters to generic names. ”Charlie” describes his life after his best friends committed suicide during the 1991-1992 school year, in which he talks about his own personal feelings and experiences with drugs, homosexuality, masturbation, sex and suicide. He witnesses his sister and her boyfriend having sex, an incident of date rape, and gay sex. He reveals his own experiences with Patrick and masturbation, and well as kissing him. The novel ends with the last letter telling the recipient that “Charlie” just returned from the hospital after his parents found him in a catatonic state. The novel was challenged in 2006 by a grandmother of a sixth grader who said that not only did it have explicit descriptions of sex, it also contain forced oral sex. The State School Superintendent agreed saying, “That’s a little much for a 12 year old.”
To learn more, visit: http://www.marshall.edu/library/bannedbooks/books/perks.asp
Source: Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. 2nd ed.New York: Checkmark, 2011. 391-95. Print.
The Golden Compass is the first novel in the “His Dark Materials” trilogy. This is a story of a young girl who lives in a alternate version of Earth where every human has their own daemon. Lyra and her daemon Pan travel together to rescue her friend Roger, and the other children who have been kidnapped by a mysterious group called the Gobblers. On her journey, Lyra discovers the truth of her parentage and struggles to find the truth about the truth and the “Dust.” With help from her new and unusual friends, she is able to free all the children, but loses Roger to the Lord Asriel, who severs Roger and his daemon in order to access a portal between the worlds. Lyra and Pan follow Lord Asriel into the portal, and continue their adventure. The novel didn’t cause any controversy until the plans for a movie was announced. Pullman, while trying to promote the movie, openly declared that he was an atheist, and an inverted telling of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, only with God being vanquished instead of Satan. The book and the movie was condemned by the church, removed from reading lists in Christian schools in Texas, and targeted in Canada for its anti religion stance.
To learn more, visit: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312576,00.html
Source: Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova. “His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass.” 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. 2nd ed.New York: Checkmark, 2011. 240-45. Print.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the story of a young orphaned boy who, on his eleventh birthday, discovers he is actually a wizard. His adventure begins as he attends Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he meets his two best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Together, they go on an adventure to save the school from destruction and ultimately, Lord Voldemort. This book series was written by J.K. Rowling. This novel was challenged across the United States, where it was published as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, for containing magic and wizardry. The novel was burned publicly, and banned from many Catholic schools across the nation. Many conservative groups and fundamental Christians believed the novel to promote Satanism, and taught children to rebel against parents, teachers and other forms of authority. Though new books were released through 2007, much of the protest ended after 2002.
To learn more, visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deji-olukotun/the-banning-of-harry-pott_b_1864502.html
Source: Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. 2nd ed.New York: Checkmark, 2011. 229-35. Print.
The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine was written in two parts, the first published in 1794, the second published in 1795. In this book, he denounced the Christian religion, saying it was “pious fraud” and “repugnant to reason.” Thomas Paine wrote the book hoping to “rescue religion from the Christian systems of faith” (Karolides Bald Sova 186). Thomas Paine was a religious man, but he was against the ideals of organized religion, as were many of the philosophers of that time. Paine’s book was banned in America, Britain and France due to religious reasons. Publishers of the book in Britain were imprisoned and prosecuted for over 25 years.
To learn more, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Age_of_Reason
Source: Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova. “The Age of Reason.” 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. 2nd ed.New York: Checkmark, 2011. 186-89. Print.
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of short stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer from 1347 through 1400, when he passed away. The overall plot of the novel is a group of 29 pilgrims from all different social classes, are traveling across England, and they decide that to pass the time they would each tell four stories; two on the way to the Canterbury Cathedral which is their destination, and two on the way back. These tales include “The Miller’s Tale” and “The Wife of Bath.” The Canterbury Tales was sought to be banned from the classroom doe to a risque and blunt vocabulary, as well as in-depth descriptions of intercourse, most of which involving adultery and incest. Parents viewed the text as too racy and unfit for classroom teaching.
To learn more visit: http://bannedbooks.world.edu/2011/11/21/banned-books-awareness-canterbury-tales/
Source: Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova. “The CanterburyTales.” 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. 2nd ed.New York: Checkmark, 2011. 473-77. Print.
My Brother Sam is Dead, a novel by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier, is about a family during the American Revolution that is split between loyalties The older brother joins the rebels, leaving the younger brother Tim, who is the narrator, to decide who he will give his allegiance to. The father, who tries to remain neutral, eventually dies while on a British prisoner ship. Tim witnesses horrific acts by the British army which effects of a physical and mental level. Sam, the older brother, is found guilty of stealing and is executed, leaving Tim and his mother to run the family business This novel was challenged in elementary school because of foul language. Its vivid depictions of different acts of violence during war was also a reason people attempted to ban it. They thought it was unpatriotic, though others argued that it was an accurate description of the horrors of war, foul language and all.
To learn more, visit: http://businessclarksville.com/2010/09/21/banned-books-my-brother-sam-is-dead-15785/
Source: Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova. “My Brother Sam is Dead.” 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. 2nd ed.New York: Checkmark, 2011. 123-25. Print.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is the story of a young orphaned boy who struggles with the harsh life of poverty in England during the early 1800s. Oliver moves from a terrible orphanage to a cruel apprenticeship. After a physical encounter with a co-worker, Oliver runs away and is found by a street gang. After confrontations with police, it is revealed that Fagin, the leader of the gang, is plotting with a mysterious man named Monk. Monk turns out to be Oliver’s older half brother who is plotting to kill Oliver in order to inherit the land that his mother left him. Oliver eventually escapes the gang and Monk, and is adopted by a kind man. Parents tried to ban Oliver Twist in Brooklyn in 1949, due to the negative portrayal of Jewish people in the novel. The main villain Fagin, is often described as just ‘the Jew’ rather than his name or ‘he.’ He is also described in ways similar to the way one would describe the Devil, with red hair, facial hair, and a snakelike disposition.
To learn more, visit: http://www.naijapidginenglish.com/2011/09/01/dbanjs-oliver-twist-banned-by-nbc/
Source: Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova. “Oliver Twist.” 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. 2nd ed.New York: Checkmark, 2011. 282-85. Print.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell is a children’s book about two male penguins who raise a baby penguin. They are gay penguins that are happy together, until they notice that they don’t have any eggs. They unsuccessful try to hatch a rock, and get sad. A zookeeper notices their attempt, and gives them the egg of a female penguin who had two, and was ignoring one. The male penguins, Roy and Silo take good care of the egg, and raise Tango as their own. This novel was banned due to its underlying homosexual content. Many parents all around the United States tried to have the book banned for numerous reasons, such as; it conflicted with their beliefs, they believed the content was too mature of a topic for elementary school children, they didn’t want to have to explain homosexuality to their kids so young. In most of the cases, the request to ban the book was overruled, often by a majority vote.
Source: Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova. “And Tango Makes Three.” 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. 2nd ed.New York: Checkmark, 2011. 451-54. Print.