Opinions

Banning the Classics: “To Kill a Mockingbird”

By: Melissa Freed

The beloved story of “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is told in the perspective of a young girl named Scout Finch. Scout, her brother Jem, and father Atticus, live in the small town of Maycomb County, Alabama in the 1930s during the Great Depression. The first part of the novel focuses on the lives of the kids in Maycomb, and their obsession with their neighbor Boo Radley who hasn’t left his house in twenty five years. In addition, her father Atticus Finch is a lawyer, and he has been assigned a controversial case where he must defend a black man named Tom Robinson, who was accused of raping a white woman. This case was a dangerous move in Atticus’s career because at the time it was considered courageous for a white man to defend a black man. As a naive kid, Scout has yet to realize that the townsfolk of Maycomb have a social hierarchy and are prejudice towards black people. However, in the second part of the novel, Atticus’s trial takes place and Scout sees Maycomb in a whole new light. She realizes that everyone is not equal and that many of the townsfolk are racist. The novel has important messages about equality and race. Furthermore, “To Kill A Mockingbird” teaches young kids to not make snap judgements about one another.

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This novel has been taught in schools for countless years and has influenced many generations of readers. However, recently in Biloxi, Mississippi there have been many complaints about the book, and it has been banned from their public schools’ curriculum. Parents have voiced their concerns that the language in the book is too vulgar for their kids because of the use of racial slurs. Despite these complaints, many people have been sharing their criticisms online about the ban and urge the school to put “To Kill A Mockingbird” back in their classrooms. For instance, Arne Duncan, the former secretary of education in the Obama administration, tweeted: “When school districts remove ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ from the reading list, we know we have real problems.”

The main issue as to why the book was banned was because of censorship, but in this day and age students should be able to cope with harsh realities. I believe children are tough enough to read books about racism and other controversial topics like rape. Furthermore, “To Kill A Mockingbird” has made classrooms all over America have important discussions about these prevalent topics for many years, and even in today’s world these topics are still relevant. Therefore, I genuinely feel that kids will be at a loss in Biloxi, Mississippi for not reading this American classic which provokes people to talk about race and society. It’s truly a sin to ban this book just as it is a sin to kill a mockingbird.

 

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