Why is to Kill a Mockingbird Banned Essay

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Banning books has been a controversial issue in high schools across the United States. Everyone has their own unique beliefs and opinions. It is not ethical to forbid everyone from reading a book that makes one person feel uncomfortable. No one should have the right to ban everyone from reading a book. It is up to the reader to decide what book they want to read. Some people like to ban books for everyone because of the words used toward different races. The time period that a book was written in has a lot to do with the theme. Reading a book that is set in the early 1900s, would be different than reading a book that is set in the 2000s.

To Kill a Mockingbird has racial slurs; however, it was set in a time when that language was used. Despite the language used, this book teaches lessons about life. Mature people should understand that the times are different and understand that the language used was a reality. To Kill a Mockingbird was published in May of 1960 by Harper Lee. It is set in the 1930s and tells a story through the eyes of Scout Finch. Scout lives with her brother Jem and widowed father Atticus. Atticus is a renowned lawyer and agrees to defend a black man named Tom Robinson, who is falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Meanwhile, Scout, Jem, and Dill are curious about their new friend Boo Radley. The children are extremely curious about the mysterious reclusive Boo. Tom pleads not guilty and the whole town is shocked. Bob Ewell, Mayella’s father, takes matters into his own hands and tries to break into the judge's house. He also attacks Scout and Jem while they are walking home. Boo Radley rescues them, kills Bob, and the town is finally in peace. Lee demonstrates how society was during the Depression. She wrote the book based on life experiences she had as a kid growing up in Monroeville, Alabama. Her book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. It is now considered a classic and students all over the U.S. are reading this book, however, in some places, it has unfairly been challenged.

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In Biloxi, Mississippi, the school banned it and did not give an “official” reason (Jackson). It has been fifty-seven years since the book was published, but people still continue to exaggerate the books meaning. A member of the school board said, “Some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable” (Mistake to ban mockingbird). Lee uses the n-word in her book a few times, but she only uses this language to elucidate the society during that time period. The n-word itself appears in the book nearly fifty times, almost always in dialogue (Selk). The word is not used in an incendiary manner (Mistake to ban mockingbird), which should not make people uncomfortable. It is important to understand that times are different now than they were nearly a century ago. Thankfully now all men have civil rights, but not all men and women had civil rights during the 1930s. People did not treat all races the same but, it is an important part of our country’s history. Lee’s book was also banned by a Hanover County school in 1966 (Bellot). This was the first time her book was ever banned and created this controversial issue.

The Virginia school considered the book to be immoral and improper for young American students (Bellot). Images of sex was the cause of the first big uproar (Selk). Lee heard about the bannings and decided to write a letter in her local newspaper about the issue (Bellot). She insults the school by asking if any of the students can read (Bellot). She also made the point that the book was based on experiences she had as a child and explained that the book is far milder and less subversive than other novels with a similar theme (Bellot). Another state she makes is, “‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners” (Selk). To Kill a Mockingbird was not yet on the State Board’s list, so the school board deemed it offensive because of the plot of a white attorney defending a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman in a small Alabama town (Bellot). Unfortunately, rape occurs in this world and there is no escaping the fact that it happens. Reading about a man being accused of rape is not going to influence anyone to rape someone. Some Americans, to this day, wish to avoid the reality of racial discrimination (Bellot).

Another controversial banning of To Kill a Mockingbird occurred in Hillsborough, N.C in 2004. A thirteen-year-old boy listened to his classmates read the book out loud and heard the n-word nonstop. He began to feel uncomfortable and protested by himself. He made a shirt covered in words from the book, including the n-word. He told his teacher,” If it’s good enough for the book, it’s good enough for the shirt. He insisted that the book be removed from the school system (Selk). The school gave in to the kid and removed the book from the school. A thirteen-year-old is not responsible enough to realize why the book uses so much language. While reading a book from another time period, the reader should understand how certain people were treated. Also, the reader needs to actually read the book instead of looking at only the words that are used. Most people would continue to read the book to understand why the language is being used instead of protesting the book while ruining the book for the rest of the students. Lee did not write this book to criticize any race or gender. She wrote it to teach life lessons that every man should learn. To Kill a Mockingbird is a good book for teenagers to read. First of all the book is relatable.

All the problems she goes through in school and society, are problems that many people have dealt with while growing up (Medieros). The story is told through the eyes of a child, Scout, which makes the book much more easy to understand. Another reason every student should read To Kill a Mockingbird is because of the life lessons that Atticus teaches his children. Any student can learn from all of the things Atticus has taught his kids during the book. Atticus said to his children, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” Atticus is exactly right in his statement. Everybody is different and no one looks at everything the same, but to understand someone you have to. Atticus also says, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” The only thing that a person has and no one else can control, is their conscience. We, inside of our minds, know what is the right thing to do. Atticus wanted his kids to know that their consciences will always be there and no one can control it. That is a very valuable lesson that every student can benefit from. The biggest thing that Atticus teaches, is to treat all people equal and to stand up for what you believe in. He stood up for Tom Robinson and agreed to defend him in his case while knowing the majority of people were against him.

Atticus knows what the right thing to do is in that situation and he did it. He believed that all men should be treated equal no matter what color. The book is teaching that, but schools still continue to challenge it. To Kill a Mockingbird is a wonderful book with many lessons to be learned that will help anyone in life. It was written based on real-life experiences from the childhood of Lee, which makes it more relatable to life. Even though it was based on real-life experiences, people still want it to be banned from schools. The use of the n-word is too much for people to handle, even though that was how it used to be during the 1930s. She was not writing it to hurt anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable. She wrote it to tell a story. Lee, innocent as can be, was antagonized for her terrific book. Many people have spoken out to ban books because they are not comfortable reading them. To Kill a Mockingbird has been banned many times because of the offensive language and the mention of rape. If someone is uncomfortable with a book, they do not have to read it; instead, they try to ban the book and prohibit other students from reading it. Every student has the right to read whatever they chose. They are not limited by other people’s opinions and beliefs.

Banning books is unnecessary because students should be able to read any book that they choose. Students try to ban To Kill a Mockingbird because they are immature. Only a mature audience is able to read this book. Most Jr. high students should be mature enough to read it without taking offense to the language used and certain actions done. That is not the case with a few students. The maturity level of the students who “find the book offensive” has to be really low compared to their classmates. Just read the book and enjoy it instead of trying to find anything to cause issues.

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Why is to Kill a Mockingbird Banned Essay. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-reasons-for-banning-of-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
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Why is to Kill a Mockingbird Banned Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-reasons-for-banning-of-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
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