Moby-Dick; or The Whale, Herman Melville,1851
In a real head-scratcher of a case, a Texas school district banned the book from its Advanced English class lists because it “conflicted with their community values” in 1996. Community values are frequently cited in discussions over challenged books by those who wish to censor them.
...yeah, I got nothing.
(Note: If by community values they meant "our community does not value this level of epic boredom at this length", okay, maybe I can see it. I have a feeling that is not the case.)
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein, 1961
The book was actually retained after a 2003 challenge in Mercedes, TX to the book’s adult themes. However, parents were subsequently given more control over what their child was assigned to read in class, a common school board response to a challenge.
I'm trying here, so hard. I'm failing. I--what?
Not Texas (I hope, please), but huh?
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, 1963
Sendak’s work is beloved by children in the generations since its publication and has captured the collective imagination. Many parents and librarians, however, did much hand-wringing over the dark and disturbing nature of the story. They also wrung their hands over the baby’s penis drawn in In the Night Kitchen.
...I have never seen this penis. Jesus, I need to find that book and where's waldo this like, soon.
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850
According to many critics, Hawthorne should have been less friendly toward his main character, Hester Prynne (in fairness, so should have minister Arthur Dimmesdale). One isn’t surprised by the moralist outrage the book caused in 1852. But when, one hundred and forty years later, the book is still being banned because it is sinful and conflicts with community values, you have to raise your eyebrows. Parents in one school district called the book “pornographic and obscene” in 1977. Clearly this was before the days of the World Wide Web.
...where the hell is the porn in here? Did I miss this chapter? What porn?
(Note: Again, boring, and also, the Adultery Baby is freaky like hell; that kid alone might justify banning just to have less hideously precocious babies wandering around. Then again, that was the most interesting part of the book, even if it was born of fear.)
The Words of Cesar Chavez, Cesar Chavez, 2002
The works of Chavez were among the many books banned in the dissolution of the Mexican-American Studies Program in Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson Unified School District disbanded the program so as to accord with a piece of legislation which outlawed Ethnic Studies classes in the state. To read more about this egregious case of censorship, click here.
More details on that here. I mean, it kind of mocks itself just reading the justification, to be honest.
For more adventures in limiting the vastness of the human experience as expressed in literature due to reasons, Banned Books Week website and ALA's Banned Books section.
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