Notre Dame
High School

Lawrenceville, NJ
School Life
The Voice

Banned Books and Literary Rebellions

Laura Bedser '19

What’s a banned book? You may be picturing a leather-bound copy found only in the restricted section of the library. In reality, though, you’ve probably read at least one banned book during your high school career.
Some famous titles of banned books include:
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • THe Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

(Find even more banned books, and why they’re controversial, here: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics)

According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, “A book is “challenged” when a person or group objects to the materials and attempts to remove or restrict their accessibility. A book is “banned” when this removal is successful.” The most commonly cited reasons books are challenged are for containing sexually explicit content, offensive language, or being “unsuitable for any age group.”

Today, there are many groups that bring awareness to and encourage the reading of banned books. There is even a Banned Book Week in September, launched in 1982 in response to books being challenged in schools, libraries, and bookstores. Banned Books Week also highlights the year’s most controversial books. In 2018, some of the banned books celebrated include Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Why do literary lovers rebel from governmental and social banning of novels? The answer is pretty simple. Reading and enjoying banned novels is a celebration of our right to free speech and open access to information. Content deemed as inappropriate often has a message behind it that some groups don’t want to acknowledge. For example, the novel The Hate U Give was banned by Texas school officials for the use of profanity and vulgar language, as well as depicting drug use. While the book does contain these things, this content is used to address the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement, giving an honest voice to this necessary stand against violence.

If you’re curious about the process of how books get banned in the first place, read more here.
 
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Notre Dame High School

Located on 100 beautiful acres in Central New Jersey, Notre Dame High School, founded in 1957, is a college preparatory school for grades 9 - 12, preparing young men and women for lives of purpose, built upon a foundation of Catholic faith, with a commitment to academics, co-curricular activities and service to others.