Why was Lord of the Flies banned?
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Like many great works of literature Lord of the Flies has often been banned from public libraries and school reading lists. According to the American Library Association, Lord of the Flies is most often banned because of its violence and inappropriate language. Many districts believe the book's violence and demoralizing scenes to be too much for young audiences to handle. Since the book's main characters are children themselves, educators and parents worry it sends students the wrong message. A school district in Canada banned the book because they felt the book was racist and used inappropriate ways to describe black people, and a district in Waterloo, Iowa banned it "because of profanity, lurid passages about sex, and statements defamatory to minorities, God, women and the disabled."
Lord of the Flies appears on the American Library Association's list of 100 most challenged and banned books for 1990–1999, but it does not appear on that list for 2000–2009. Certain school districts may challenge a book for use within their school system; a successful challenge means the book is banned. Similarly, parent or citizen groups may challenge a book from inclusion in a certain library. The novel has not been "banned" in any universal sense. According to the American Library Association, most challenges are not successful.
Some of the reasons for challenging this book as a book for young readers include its violence, its language, and its alleged racism. One can easily see that the violence in the book may be objectionable to some. The boys kill a little child through their negligence and murder two boys and attempt to murder a third. The descriptions of the pig hunts can be considered quite graphic as well.
Although the language does not seem too objectionable by today's standards, there are frequent usages of "sucks to your ass-mar." An earlier edition of the book has Piggy calling the other boys, in chapter 11, "a pack of painted ni****s." The edition available now changes it to "a pack of painted Indians."
Some people believe the book is dripping with racism toward indigenous peoples. When the book equates "savagery" with "wickedness," some believe that paints all indigenous cultures as morally inferior to white European cultures. Piggy's disdain of "painted Indians" may also be perceived as racist. Others see Golding's presentation of the nuclear war that is raging beyond the island as sufficient proof that Golding is not unduly biased toward European culture at the expense of indigenous cultures. Certainly one can debate these issues without calling for a complete ban of the book.
William Golding's book, The Lord of the Flies, has been banned from schools on more than one occasion. In fact, according to the American Library Association, Lord of the Flies is book number 8 on the association's list of frequently banned books. I do want to be clear though, the book was not ever completely banned from all schools. The reasons the book was banned are the common reasons that most books are banned from schools; too much bad language, sex, violence, and racism. Other reasons to ban the book have focused on the lack of morality shown in the book by the boys. In 1981, it was challenged at the Owen, North Carolina high school. The claim was that the book was “demoralizing, in that it implies that man is little more than an animal.”
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