Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is a very popular book all across North America. In some places, it is not known for its positives. Rather, small towns agree that this book is not good for their children to read, and it is rushed off of the school library bookshelves, often only for its harsh but correct depiction of the 1930s. Lee’s book has been banned in several cities and counties all across the continent.
To Kill A Mockingbird has many complaints and reasons as to why some think it should be banned. The main three objections are to the foul language used, the theme of rape, and the use of racial slurs (Bloom 3). The book also describes rebelliousness to authority, questioning of absolutes, and the imposition of values (Bloom 3).
Many parents, teachers, and government officials agree that To Kill A Mockingbird has a negative influence on their children and or students. One source suggests that “particular books lead students in inappropriate directions” (Bloom 4). Elders believe that students are easily influenced and think that they are led by what the read (Bloom 4). Young readers are thought to be vulnerable and not capable of thinking for themselves.
The novel To Kill A Mockingbird has many interpretations and descriptions. It is most often described as the story of a rape trial in a small southern town in the deep South of Alabama. Also, it is known as the story of a white lawyers effort to obtain justice for a Negro client (Bloom 8). All though the description sounds like a great story teaching a valuable lesson, many people still believe this is a negative book worthy of censorship.
Since 1960, To Kill A Mockingbird has been one of the most widely read novels in North America (Bloom 3). It is read in high schools al across the continent except in Hanover County, Virginia (Bloom 24). The most highly publicized case of censorship of To Kill A Mockingbird comes from Hanover County, Virginia (Bloom 6). Dr. Bosher, of Hanover County, reported to the school board that the novel was “improper for our children to read” (Bloom 8). The board later tried to put justice to its censorship of To Kill A Mockingbird by claiming that it would not be used in Hanover County Schools solely because it was submitted for inclusion on the State Aid book list in 1960 and rejected (Bloom 9). The state would not subside to the purchase of To Kill A Mockingbird (Bloom 10). The list To Kill A Mockingbird has been placed on does not censor the book, it just does not necessarily attempt to disapprove or approve of books from a moralistic standpoint (Bloom 10). Today, the book is still in any Hanover County Schools in Virginia but its read everywhere else.
Other than in Hanover County, Virginia, other states and provinces across North America wanted to ban Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. One Canadian province censored Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird for its portrayal of African Americans in the novel. The word “nigger” is used forty-eight times in the book. The Canadian province also claims the blacks are portrayed as “innocent mockingbirds” (Mancini 46). In 1980, a town in New York, called Vernon-Verona-Sherill, claimed that the novel was “filthy and trashy” (Bloom 6). Objections were brought up in 1984 in Waukegan, Illinois for To Kill A Mockingbird’s excessive use of the word “nigger” (Bloom 6). To Kill A Mockingbird aroused several citizens in Warren, Indiana in 1981 for the novel’s representation of institutionalized racism in the disguise of “good literature” (Bloom 6). The book was removed from schools in Eden Valley, Minnesota in 1977 for the use of the words “damn” and “whore lady” (Bloom 6). In 1985, cities in Arizona, Missouri, and Kansas challenged the book to censorship only for the slight use of profanity and racial slurs (Bloom 6). Other states including Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia are also sensitive to the few curse words used seldom in the novel.
Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is an extremely well-known work of fiction from corner to corner of North America. In many cities, counties, and towns it is praised for its great story, moral lesson, and superb writing, but it some places it is criticized for its language use, sexual references, and racial slurs. Countless cities, towns, counties, and provinces across the continent have even gone as far as to ban the narrative. Lee’s honest and accurate interpretation of the southern lifestyle in the 1930s has caused it to be one of the most censored novels in North America.