The forbidden knowledge found via banned books

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Rhea Gupta

READING BANNED BOOKS: These titles are a few out of the many enlightening banned books.

Rhea Gupta, Staff Writer

Banned books have recently become a point of debate due to the fact that they tend to touch on heavy topics and controversial issues. These books push the boundaries on what is acceptable to be talked about in modern-day society with some famous titles including Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” and Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give,” both of which address heavy topics such as racism, sexuality and violence.

 

“Maus” by Art Spiegelman

Recently banned in Tennesse’s eighth-grade curriculum for nudity and profanity, “Maus” is a nonfiction graphic novel on the Holocaust that follows the author’s parents’ experience during World War II, illustrating the numerous atrocities Jews faced during the Nazi invasion. Utilizing postmodernist techniques representing groups of people with different animal species such as mice for Jews and cats for Germans, it is the first and so far only graphic novel to receive a Pulitzer Prize. 

 

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

“The Hate U Give” is a young adult book that addresses police brutality through the eyes of the main character, Starr Carter, who witnesses the unjust shooting of her unarmed childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer. The storyline follows Carter’s journey in the fight to serve justice for her friend, calling on the consistent unequal treatment and systemic racism present in the world. “The Hate U Give” was banned by Texas school districts at the end of 2017 after it was challenged for its “inappropriate language.”

 

“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood

“The Handmaid’s Tale” features topics including sexism, violence and LGBTQ themes. The novel takes place in a dystopian, futuristic society where a totalitarian patriarchal theocracy, formally known as the United States, reduces Handmaids, or women, to sexual slavery. Atwood took inspiration from the Salem witch trial, drawing parallels between her novel and the time period’s actions of demonizing and threatening women. Due to its discussion of sexism and the persecution of women, “The Handmaid’s Tale” was banned in 2012 in Guilford County, North Carolina, and other states for violent content and language regarding the Bible. 

 

“Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

Partially known for its famous Netflix remake, “Thirteen Reasons Why” has been a controversial novel due to its heavy topics, including suicidal thoughts and substance abuse. Following Hannah Baker’s suicide, numbered cassette tapes are sent out to 13 different people explaining how those people played a role in the death. Though this book deals with morbid topics, it emphasizes the impact bullying and mistreatment have on those around us, teaching us to be more aware and thoughtful of our peers. It was most recently banned in 2020 in New Jersey for its supposed glorification of suicide.