Why Was Lord Of The Flies Banned

Why was Lord of the Flies banned?

Lord of the Flies has been banned in a number of school districts because of its violence, bloodshed, and use of pagan imagery. Many parents find these things offensive and don't believe that it's appropriate for their children to read about them.

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Lord of the Flies is known as being one of the most controversial children's books ever written, telling the story of a group of school children who become stranded on an island and quickly descend into disturbing levels of chaos and violence.

One of the reasons this book is controversial is due to the intense violence of certain scenes, which might upset children. For example, Piggy is intentionally killed with a rock, which is described in the following passage:

Piggy fell 40 feet and landed on his back across the square red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out and turned red. Piggy's arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig after it has been killed.

With passages like this, some parents are unsurprisingly uncomfortable with their children reading this book. Another act of violence in Lord of the Flies is when the boys cruelly kill a pig, which is squealing in pain. This is described using grotesque imagery by Golding, with passages that would make adult readers wince.

Unlike other children's books, The Lord of the Flies shows the darkest aspects of human nature, presenting children as being capable of sadistic acts of violence and brutality. While Golding is suggesting that humans are violent by nature, this nuanced message might not be understood by young readers. As such, there are concerns that children might get the wrong message from this kind of book.

Another key issue parents and educators have is the representation of bullying. We see bullying throughout the book, directed particularly towards Piggy, who struggles with asthma and poor eyesight. Piggy is called cruel names such as "fatty" and is physically attacked on a number of occasions. This kind of relentless bullying is perhaps not the best thing for young audiences to be reading, not only because it might upset them, but also because it might encourage bullying.

Considering this, it is perhaps understandable why parents, schools, and libraries banned children from reading this book. Young people are arguably not the best audience for this kind of information, as they might not be able to fully grasp the message Golding is trying to convey.

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Though it has been very popular ever since it was first published in 1954, William Golding's Lord of the Flies has also been hugely controversial. And it's not hard to see why. The story of a group of English public schoolboys who crash-land on a desert island and turn into blood-thirsty savages, Lord of the Flies contains a good deal of violence and bloodshed.

Many parents have taken exception to this, arguing that it is inappropriate for children to read about such horrid things. That being the case, a number of school districts, particularly in the United States, have banned students from reading the book.

A number of parents, especially in school districts where evangelical Christianity is predominant, have also taken exception to what they see as the pagan elements in the story. The eponymous Lord of the Flies, or Beelzebub, a rotting, fly-blown pig's head on a stick, is the ultimate symbol of evil.

To make matters worse for some parents, the pig's head becomes an object of worship among the boys, which smacks of paganism or, even worse, Satanism. And to large numbers of parents in certain parts of the world, this is way beyond the pale. As a consequence, Lord of the Flies has been removed from school reading lists for its alleged encouragement of un-Christian religious practices.

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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.

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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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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."

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