Banned Books – Banned books are books or other printed works such as essays or plays which are prohibited by law or to which free access is not permitted by other means. The practice of banning books is a form of censorship, from political, legal, religious, moral, or (less often) commercial motives. – Wikipedia
There are a lot of reasons why a book gets banned. Usually, because someone, somewhere disagrees with the ideas in a book. So because that person, or group, doesn’t like the book they decide that no one else should be able to read it.
This is anathema to me. I have personal experience with the ways that thought/mind control can affect a person (which I will not enumerate here). We may not agree with another persons ideas, but pretending they don’t exist doesn’t help anyone. How on earth do we grow unless it is by learning new things and trying out new ideas? Books are a wonderful way to open up our minds to new things, learn compassion for others, and illuminate our own path.
In celebration of banned books week, I will choose one banned book each day to highlight. Some of those won’t be a surprise. Some of them may shock you. Good. Don’t be afraid to read a banned book today…
1984 – George Orwell
Reasons for Ban: Sexual content, Pro-Communist ideas (USA), Anti-Communist ideas (USSR), Anti-semitism
To me, this book is the mother of all banned books. It is about one man’s attempt to free himself from oppressive, political, cultic indoctrination. The government has taken complete control of the people’s behavior, access to information, thoughts and even emotions. Just the act of thinking against the organization makes a person guilty and a person can be executed for Thought Crime. Big Brother is always watching, and you can’t trust anyone, not even those you love.
It’s interesting to me that so many groups found 1984 worthy of banning. In the case of USA & USSR, they both banned the book because they thought it was both anti and pro communist. How ridiculous! It’s telling that groups find Orwell’s message against censorship, totalitarianism and lack of free will so frightening. The truth hurts doesn’t it. When your favorite tool is limiting other peoples access to thoughts and ideas that oppose yours then a book like this is a dangerous thing. You will be outed.
I know most people are first exposed to 1984 in high school, but this book ages well over time. It’s easy to see why the ideas of Big Brother, Doublethink and Thoughtcrime have become part of our common language. This book is well worth a read, no matter what anyone else thinks. Thank goodness, no one has been able to silence this novel.
Bonus link: Punchnels.com wrote an excellent article a few years ago about the 10 reasons why books are banned and 5 reasons why they shouldn’t be. Check it out!
Song for this book: Closer to Fine by Indigo Girls … find your answers everywhere!