There are many different books that are studied in schools, but one should be removed from shelves. Students should not be reading about certain subject matters until they are fully invested into that specific subject. Certain inappropriate topics are racism and dated subject matter. The book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, should be removed from school shelves because of its dated subject matter, difficult plot and offensive terms.
To Kill a Mockingbird displays very dated subject matter which is one of the many reasons that it should be removed from school shelves. Students would rather read a book in regard to present time or a book written at a different time that they are still able to relate to. To Kill a Mockingbird is not relevant to students today as it was based in the 1930’s. “ I’d hate to see Harry Johnson’s face when he gets in from the Mobile run and finds Atticus Finch’s shot his dog.” (Lee 101) Now, people would just call animal control. The main problematic theme within the story is racism. Scout feels the need to ask her father, “Do you defend niggers, Atticus?”(Lee 79) In the 1900’s, racism was a huge issue in the United States, among other countries, but due to new laws it is not as big of a problem now. Something else that is completely different now is the schooling system. “I never deliberately learned to read….” (Lee 22) Back then average schooling was considered a privilege, but now, in our society, it is expected that each child is given an adequate education. Irrelevant subject matter is just one reason why To Kill a Mockingbird should be removed from school shelves; however a more important reason is its very confusing plot.
Along with its dated subject matter, the plot of To Kill a Mockingbird is difficult to follow, therefore it should be removed from school shelves. The book is written in first-person participant, which is a limiting point of view as everything is written in the way that Scout Finch sees it. Although other characters may be mentioned you may not know what they are actually thinking. An example is when Scout’s teacher, Miss Caroline, chooses Scout to read the alphabet. “I suppose she chose me because she knew my name…” (Lee 21) This is Scout’s assumption of Miss Caroline’s choice, but there may have been other reasons that the reader may not be aware of. Another glitch in the plot is when Jem and Scout see a rabid dog walking down the street.
“Tim Johnson was not much more than a speck in the distance, but he was close to us. He walked erratically.” (Lee 97) This part of the book is random as you are not aware of the dog or how fearful anyone is of rabid animals. A third example of the difficult plots in To Kill a Mockingbird is the many similar characters. Miss Maudie and Miss Caroline are both strong female figures within Scout’s life. “…, so careful were we to preserve the delicate balance of our relationship, but Jem and Dill drove me closer to her with their behavior.” (Lee 46) This excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird talks about how Miss Maudie is very generous to Scout and Jem yet she also has boundaries. Miss Caroline is very similar to this because she is Scout’s teacher. Although she is there to help, she has to have rules. The difficult plot of To Kill a Mockingbird is another reason why it should be removed from school shelves.
Offensive terms within To Kill a Mockingbird, are another reason why it should be taken off school shelves. Racism is the main use of offensive terms, mainly against blacks but at certain points whites are also victimized. Atticus, Jem and Scout’s father, is one person within the story that doesn’t judge people based on their skin colour, “I’m simply defending a Negro- his name’s Tom Robinson.” (Lee 80) Students should not have to read about someone defending himself for doing the right thing, but simply encouraged to do the right thing no matter what the situation is. Part of the book that is morally inappropriate is when Calpurnia takes Scout and Jem to the black church. “I wants to know why you bringin’ white chillum to nigger church.” (Lee 121)
This is what one woman had to say when she saw Cal arrive at church with Jem and Scout. A third example of an inappropriate moment in the story is when Jem gets in a fight because his father is defending black people. Jem then convinces Scout to ask Atticus, “Do you defend niggers, Atticus?” (Lee 79) This part in the story was very upsetting because the other kids at school have no reason to make such a big deal about what Jem’s father does and it is truly none of their business. There are many aspects of To Kill a Mockingbird that are inappropriate for a school environment and offensive terms are just one of them.
Its dated subject matter, difficult plot and offensive terms are just three reasons why To Kill a Mockingbird should be removed from school shelves. The negative influence that it has on our youth is overwhelming any positive results. Books that are proven of having these effects should be removed from all school curriculums and shelves.