To Kill A Mockingbird EssayI'm supposed to engage with the issue of the objections and why it is banned, by whom and take the stand in my writing. I have to write 5-6 pages essay, but not a term...

To Kill A Mockingbird Essay

I'm supposed to engage with the issue of the objections and why it is banned, by whom and take the stand in my writing. I have to write 5-6 pages essay, but not a term paper. hELP.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Not allowing high school students to read realistic novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird is analagous to the parents who do not explain the "birds and the bees" to their teens so that they will not engage in any sexual activity.  Will these children not, then, find information from some other source?  Besides, with all the information in the media of news and movies, etc., are students nowadays not acquainted with offensive language and perversions of all kinds?

Interestingly, Harper Lee's novel is taught in the majority of high schools in the Bible Belt state of Alabama (where "bad language" is frowned upon), a state also renowned for racial conflict.  Now, if this novel is state-approved there, what does censorship of it say for other states that consider themselves "liberal-minded"? 

Part of the interest that is generated in the teen reader is its address of controversial issues.  Clearly, teens want to know about life, and Lee's novel is a great tool for teachers to address with them issues of their concern. 

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the above posts suggest, there are many dark tales wound into the story of To Kill a Mockingbird.  I think many groups ban the book because they do not feel that these dark images and words are appropriate for younger readers.  If the book isn't taught in an appropriate way, it could be damaging for younger children to read.  They might misinterpret the themes and controversial ideals within the book.  If the book is handled correctly, we can learn a great deal from the book.  Yes, it contains some negative language, but it is important for students to understand that this was the way people once spoke.  While we feel that is wrong today, we need to understand why that word is wrong and the fight of those before us who made it so.  Of course, many people would like to forget about this dark chapter of discrimination and inequality in America.  This is perhaps another reason for banning the book.

ms-einstein eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many contemporary writers aspire to write a banned book because it has become a symbol of literary excellence and a challenge to the status quo. Harper Lee's novel have been challenged for a number of ireasons. As the second respondent noted, some people find the language objectionable. This includes "nigger" and "whore." Some people do not want the theme of segregation taught in public school because it thwarts integration or degrades African-Americans. Certainly, Atticus Finch did not think badly of African-Americans. He was a pioneer in the Civil Rights movement. As the saying goes, we learn history to learn from our mistakes. To Kill a Mockingbird is a stunning example of the harm of segregation.


vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The posts above already mention the reasons that the book is often banned. Many of these same reasons have been used to ban Mark Twain's novel Huckleberry Finn. The banning of Huck Finn has been in the news lately because of the publication of the "NewSouth" edition of the book, edited by Alan Gribben. If you want to see the kinds of arguments that can (and have) been made about censorship in that case, just type "Alan Gribben and Huckleberry Finn" into Google.  Most of the arguments, pro and con, would be relevant to To Kill a Mockingbird as well.  By the way, doing a search of this topic on YouTube would also be worthwhile.

litlady33 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As above posts mention, the book is banned for reasons including language and sensitive issues. Just throwing a book like this at a student and expecting him or her to understand these issues and why Harper Lee chose to write this way would be wrong. However, I think it's important for us to still read these books, particularly To Kill a Mockingbird, because it forces us to have the difficult conversations we may not otherwise have. Instead of sheltering students from these books, I think it's important to expose them to the books and help them understand why it was written, and why we still read it today.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Typically, this book is objected to because of its use of the word "nigger."  It is also objected to at times because of the occasional use of profanity.  I would think that you could start your essay by looking at these issues and discussing both sides of the issue.  Why might someone want the book banned for each of these reasons?  Why might you argue against doing so?  Which side do you come down on?

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the two previous posts covered the primary reasons for To Kill a Mockingbird having been banned. Another reason could be from the very vague suggestions that Bob Ewell may have been having sex with his own daughter, Mayella.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question