Reasons for Banning of “To Kill a Mockingbird” Essay Sample

Posted on November 8, 2023

Essay Sample

Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” belongs to the list of classic books that has been taught and read widely in schools all around the U.S. for decades. The writing faces several objections and restrictions, which create a favorable medium for discussion regarding censorship and freedom of speech. Thus, the following analysis challenges to make the case that “To Kill a Mockingbird” should be praised for its study of vital subjects and its great contribution to American literature rather than being banned due to baseless justifications.

As the book under consideration uses harsh language and racist slurs, “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been banned for a number of reasons. It becomes vital to understand that these phrases are used for a specific purpose, even though the book contains some unpleasant and unsettling language. The 1930s in the American South were a time when racism and prejudice were rampant. Lee succeeds in portraying the attitudes and beliefs of the era in which the work is situated by utilizing derogatory language. Critics argue that the frequent use of derogatory terms, particularly against African Americans, perpetuates racism and promotes hate speech. They contend that such language can be harmful, especially for young readers, and therefore advocate for the removal of the book from educational curricula and libraries (Liu, 2019, para. 2). On the other hand, by using similar offensive terms, Harper Lee faithfully reflects the harsh reality of the time and provides a realistic portrayal of the pervasive racism experienced by African Americans. Banning the book overlooks its educational value in fostering discussions about racism, equality, and empathy.

The fact that “To Kill a Mockingbird” covers mature themes and problem areas is another justification provided for its prohibition. Critics assert that the explicit content could be harmful to young readers and potentially traumatizing for survivors of abuse. The shared perspective stresses that protecting children from such explicit material is paramount. It implies an acute need for restricting access to this sort of literature. The example is as follows: “There’s nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who’ll take advantage of a Negro’s ignorance” (Lee, 1960, ch. 23). While the book addresses touchy subjects like racism, rape, and injustice genuinely, these topics are addressed thoughtfully and sensitively throughout the book. The novel discusses the mentioned subject matters in a style that is appropriate for the target audience rather than gratuitously or sensationalistically. Besides, the book offers students a chance to discuss these problems in a welcoming environment while also honing their critical thinking abilities, which are crucial for navigating the complexities of the contemporary world.

The issue of whether the book is obsolete and no longer relevant to contemporary society is the second reason for the book’s banning. Yet this approach ignores the enduring problems of racism and prejudice in American society. Students can have a greater understanding of the historical backdrop of these issues by reading and debating similar works, and thinking critically about how they still affect society now. Readers could grasp how far society has come and how far it still has to go to reach the aspired racial equality as the book’s historical perspective shows. The novel effectively exposes the shortcomings and biases of the legal system by condemning figures of authority. By critiquing established power structures, “To Kill a Mockingbird” seeks to promote positive change and address the transformative needs of the contemporary world. Positive changes and transformative needs involve encouraging readers to critically evaluate societal institutions and contribute to a more equitable and just society. Banning the book deprives individuals of the opportunity to engage in meaningful constructive conversations about fairness, ethical decision-making, and morality.

Another prevalent controversy pertains to the claim that parents have a right to control what their kids read. Some parents could find the material disagreeable that challenges the current approved curriculum to adjust accordingly. Although there is no doubt parents have a right to protect their children from harmful content, literature under consideration is not the one among similar materials. Selecting works like the book in question demands more accurate information and speculations prior to either accepting or rejecting. When it comes to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the book receives praise for its potential to maintain readers’ attention, foster critical thought, and bring value to overall American literature. The significance and cultural influence of the book should not be underestimated also. The book’s popular film adaptation, various literary honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, demonstrate the already admitted merits. The book has been the focus of research and study among international student and academic groups, while its translations cover a wide range of languages. Its ongoing popularity is evidence of its universal message, and its themes of racial injustice and the fight for equality are still pertinent today.

Overall, “To Kill a Mockingbird” still stands out among vital and highly assessed contributions of American literature against the backdrop of multiple critiques and disapproval it receives. The book deserves credit for exploring important ideas and cultural impacts, and introducing students to the chance to engage with difficult subjects in a safe environment. Readers of all ages and ethnicities remain motivated by the book’s message of justice and equality now, just as they were during times of book’s creation. Readership could rely on the book’s lessons and insight to improve their own lives and the world at large.

Lee, H. (1960). To Kill a Mockingbird. Grand Central Publishing.

Liu, K. (2019, September 12). Harper Lee, “To kill a mockingbird.” The Banned Books Project.

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