Student Press Censorship

Topics: Censorship, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, High school Pages: 27 (9178 words) Published: July 29, 2013
Table of Contents Censorship in American Public Schools; Two Examples: The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn I. II. Purpose Introduction a. A Brief History of Censorship b. First occurrence of censorship in America III. Censors a. Teachers as Censors b. Parents as Censors c. Librarians as Censors d. Effects of Censorship on Students IV. Censorship a. Reasons Books are Censored b. First Amendment and Free Speech V. VI. Censoring Two Classics Censorship of The Catcher in the Rye a. Language b. Sexuality c. Reasons to Teach VII. Censorship of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a. Language 1 1 2 3 3 5 7 8 9 12 13 13 15 17 18 20 22 23 25

b. Racism c. Reasons to Teach VIII. IX. Conclusion Recommendations

27 28 29 30


Censorship in American Public Schools; Two Examples: The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Purpose Censorship is apparent in a variety of domains such as music, television, politics, news, and books. The purpose of this study is to examine censorship through texts in secondary English classrooms. By studying the history and reasons for censorship of two American classic novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye, one may see these patterns of censored texts as they have evolved over the last century. The study will examine what is censored and who the censors are by concentrating on issues of language, sexuality, and racism. Introduction Censorship is an issue that has been debated for many years. Society places importance on censoring certain materials; public schools do as well. Furthermore, public schools play a large part in censoring books. Therefore studying the role that schools play in censoring provides information about censoring in general. Social climate frequently changes. Furthermore, society is often guided by trends and fads. While public schools are not separate from society, they are more or less stable because of tradition. Often public schools values are closely related to the community of which they are a part. Because of this relationship with community values, a school may censor due to concerns from its community. Public schools contribute to the communities of which they are a part by providing a sense of unity and promoting tolerance and understanding. Author,


Donna Demac claims, "since its origin in the nineteenth century, American public school education has had as one of its primary goals the assimilation of diverse peoples and the teaching of social tolerance" (Demac 7). Censorship may contradict this goal by preventing students to being exposed to multiple opinions, lifestyles, and cultures. Therefore one of the goals of public schools is oppose of it actions such as censorship. Literature is a primary avenue through which young people are exposed to and learn about other cultures. Yet banning books can potentially impact public schools in a manner that limits students. Teachers may suffer a loss or at least a limitation of their academic freedom when censorship enters a classroom. A large concern of teachers is that “the freedom of professional classroom teachers to design and implement curriculum must be protected as censorship undermines the creation of an informed citizenry able to make critical judgments among competing ideas” (Carey-Webb 23). Curriculums that are not censored reflect the world’s diversity and offer students the chance to broaden their knowledge of other people and cultures. A Brief History of Censorship To fully understand censorship, one must establish a working definition. Henry Reichman, author of Censorship and Selection: Issues and Answers for Schools, defines censorship as, “the removal, suppression, or restricted circulation of literary, artistic, or educational materials--of images, ideas, and information--on the grounds that these are morally or otherwise objectionable in light of standards applied by the censor”(Reichman 2). For the purpose of this study,...

Cited: Agee, Jane. “There it Was, That One Sex Scene”: English Teachers on Censorship;” English Journal. v.89 n.2 Nov.1999: 61-69. Attacks on the Freedom to Learn. Washington, D.C. People for the American Way. 1996. Booth, Wayne C. “Censorship and the Values of Fiction.” English Journal. v. 53 n.3 March 1964: 155-64. Carey-Webb, Allen. “Racism and Huckleberry Finn: Censorship, Dialogue, and Change.” English Journal. v.82 n.7 Nov.1993: 22-33. Corbett, Edward P.J. “Raise High the Barriers, Censors.” America 54 (January 7, 1961): 441-44. Culture Shock. “Born to Trouble: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” PBS. WGBH Educational Foundation. VHS. 1999. Demac, Donna A., Liberty Denied; The Current Rise of Censorship in America. New York: PEN American Center. 1988. Donelson, Ken. “‘Filth’ and ‘Pure Filth’ in Our Schools—Censorship of Classroom Books in the Last Ten Years.” English Journal. v.86 n.2 Feb.1997: 21-25. Edwards, June. “Censorship in the Schools: What’s Moral about The Catcher in the Rye?” English Journal. v. 72 n. 4 April 1983: 39-42. Ellenbogen, Charles M. “Introducing Censorship: One Teacher’s Approach.” English Journal. v.86 n.2 Feb.1997: 65-66. Foerstel, Herbert N. Banned in the U.S.A.: a reference guide to book censorship in schools and public libraries. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. 1994. Graff, Gerald. Forward: A Case Study in Critical Controversy. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. By Mark Twain. Boston: Bedford. 1995. iii-15. Hageman, William. “Holden Caulfield at 50: Subversive Charm of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ still Captivates Teens.” Chicago Tribune 23 February 2001. NewsBank NewsFile Collection. 30 August 2001. Homstad, Wayne. Anatomy of a Book Controversy. Bloomington, Ind: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation. 1995.
Karolides, Nicholas J., et al. 100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. New York: Checkmark Books, 1999. Nelson, Randy F. The Almanac of American Letters. Los Altos: William Kaufmann, Inc. 1891. Noll, Elizabeth, “The Ripple Effect of Censorship: Silencing in the Classroom.” English Journal. v.83 n.8 Dec.1994: 59-64. McCracken, Nancy. “Censorship Matters.” The Alan Review. Winter 1994. v. 2o n. 2. 31 Oct. 2001 McCracken, Nancy. “Reading and Responding to the Censors: Ground for Defense.” The Alan Review. Winter 1995. v. 22 n. 2. 31 Oct. 2001 Marsh, Dave. 50 Ways to Fight Censorship; and Important Facts to Know about Censors. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press. 1991. Maxwell, Marilyn, and Marlene Berman. “To Ban or not to Ban: Confronting the issue of censorship in the English Class.” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. v. 41 n.2. Oct. 1997: 92-96. Rationales for Commonly Challenged Taught Books. Enfield, Conn: Connecticut Council of Teachers of English. 1983 Reichman, Henry. Censorship and Selection: Issues and Answers for Schools. Chicago: American Library association and American Association of School Administrators: 1988. Schulten, Katherine. “Huck Finn: Born to Trouble.” English Journal. v.89 n.2. Nov. 1999: 55-9. Staples, Suzanne Fisher. “What Johnny Can’t Read: Censorship in American Libraries.” The Alan Review. Winter 1996. v. 23 n. 2. 31 Oct. 2001 Stepzinski, Teresa. “Glynn considers book ban at schools ‘Catcher in the Rye’ too profane, some say.” The Florida Times-Union 18 July 2001. NewsBank NewsFile Collection. 30 August 2001. War on Words: the censorship debate. Kansas City, Mo: Andrews and McMeel. 1993. Weaver, Teresa. “‘Catcher in the Rye’ has been skewering ‘phonies’ 50 years.” The Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution 15 July 2001. NewsBank NewsFile Collection. 30 August 2001.
Zenke, Larry, and Margherite LaPota. “School Book Selection: Procedures, Challenges, and Responses.” English Journal. April 1983. 36-8.
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