Reading allows us the opportunity to tap into our creative sides and to see the world in entirely new ways. Through literature, we can explore new perspectives, gain a fuller understanding of different points of view, and develop our own opinions and views. Through reading, we can also explore without ever leaving our homes, satisfy a deep curiosity about the world around us, and perhaps even gain some much-needed inspiration and motivation that even slot-iron-bank.com cannot provide.
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Native Son by Richard Wright
Native Son, written by Richard Wright, has been banned for its frank depiction of racism in America. The novel centers around twenty-year-old African American protagonist Bigger Thomas and his life on Chicago’s South Side during the 1930s.
As the novel progresses, Bigger experiences various injustices due to his race, from losing his job to being falsely accused of murder. Through his experience, Wright aims to show the systemic racism of the time and the consequences it had on Bigger and his community. As a result of its content, the novel has been banned or restricted in a number of schools and libraries over the years.
In the 1950s, shortly after the novel was published, it was deemed “obscene” and banned from circulation in a number of school districts and libraries, including those in New York City, Cleveland, and Long Beach, California. The novel was criticized for what many reviewers and parents perceived as “offensiveness” and “vulgarity.”
Fifty years later, in 2008, the novel faced similar censorship when it was included in an Advanced Placement literature examination for high school students. Some of the school boards that objected to the book stated that its content was “too violent and explicit” for students. Despite this, the book was still part of the AP curriculum.
Throughout the years, Native Son has faced numerous challenges and bans, due to its frank and honest depiction of racism, violence, and class struggle in America. Despite this, the novel has also been widely praised, due to its complex and powerful themes, as well as its meaningful commentary on the struggles of the African American community.
Ulysses by James Joyce
Ulysses by James Joyce is one of the most acclaimed novels of the 20th century, and yet it has been banned in the United States and other countries. The difficulty—and genius—of the book, which follows the stream-of-consciousness of characters in Dublin, makes it a difficult title to grasp and a frequent target of censorship.
John Sumner, head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, instigated the first ban of Ulysses in the United States in 1921, claiming the book was “obscene.” In 1933, after an appeal from Random House, the US Customs Court lifted the ban. Unfortunately, Ulysses was further banned in Ireland due to religious and moral objections. The book was officially banned for more than a decade in the Irish Free State until the ban was removed in December 1933.
The ironic thing about Ulysses being banned is that moralists, who tried to stop it from being read, actually helped generate more exposure for the book by piquing people’s interest in the novel for almost two decades. In 1933, the US ban was lifted, but the damage had been done—Ulysses had become a symbol of free expression and art that was greater than the forces that tried to keep it hidden. Today, Ulysses is widely accepted as a great work of literature and can be found in bookstores and libraries around the world.