Banned Literature Database By:Ashley Ponce, Ulysis Nuno, Sergio Velasquez, Luna Robinson

Identify:Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Define:This book was banned by a school district in Wisconsin because the book was considered polemical and the district wanted to avoid controversy. Officials believed that if there was a chance of the book becoming an issue in the community then the possibility should be eliminated.

Describe: This book covers the history of Native American in the West during the late nineteenth century. The book describes the stories of several tribes and the events that caused their suffering.

Explain: The reasoning for this book being banned is a complicated one. American society has always had a very difficult time admitting that the native people of the country suffered mass death and destruction of their culture due to the fact that Caucasians wanted to expand their country. Many believed in manifest destiny, the idea that it was their god given right to expand their democracy and religion to the people all over the North American continent. In the process, Native American culture and lives were lost. When this issue is brought up, many prefer to sweep it under the carpet and not talk or learn about it and thus, ban the book.

Compare/Contrast: Trai of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation, 500 Nations, The Earth Shall Weep

Identify: Little Black Sambo

Define: All books are banned by the government and hated by the american people. The people all feared the books and because of the knowledge that was offered and the government hated books for that same reason.

Describe: Sambo is a south indian boy who lives with his mother and father. He is walking through the forest one day when he is surrounded by four tigers. In order to escape death he surrenders his colorful clothing and umbrella. The tigers then chase each other around, each believing that they look the best. They are eventually turned into clarified butter, which Sambo takes home so his mother can make Pancakes.

Explain: The people in the Novel Fahrenheit 451 have all decided to not read books again, and just destroy them. People have come to fear the knowledge that books offer, or just don't want it. Their government has conditioned them to follow every rule and not read books anymore, and instead focus on their television screens.

Compare/Contrast: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Boy and the Tigers, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies

Identify: Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Define: Hamilton was banned in the novel Fahrenheit-451 by Ray Bradbury because the level talked about one of the founding fathers of the country and how this man had helped lead a revolution to escape a monarchy. In fear that the citizens would learn from this book and find a way to overthrow that higher power in which ruled over them.

Describe: The novel showcases Alexander Hamilton as an American hero during the revolution. He went from a being a “bastard”,struggling ,Caribbean outsider to a right hand man in the war and an essential part of the shaping of the United States. The novel also gives insight to his political thoughts and actions, as well as his idea of the “American Dream”.

Explain: The people in this dystopian society are oppressed of the privilege to read literature because of a fear of too much knowledge. The people in this society also seemed to be ruled in a totalitarian/dictatorship where the people have no choice but to do what the people in power say. Therefore by banning all books they limit the people ability to learn any better than what they are taught. They are stripped of the ability to see a better life than the one that has been decided for them. This book in particular talks about a different type of government than the one in this dystopian society and also a way to rise up to create a government that these people both like and support. Essentially, if you keep the information about how to create change away from the people the “peace” will not be disturbed.

Compare/Contrast: In the novel all books are banned therefore it cannot be compare to other works of literature that were acceptable because no literature is acceptable in this society.

Identify: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Define: The Scarlet Letter was banned in the United States in 1852 because of its friendly content. The book was said to have been sinful and conflicted with community values. Some parents even said it was pornographic and disruptive to morality and decency.

Describe: The novel is about a women named Hester who moves to Boston from England and while awaiting the arrival of her husband she has an affair and gets pregnant. When the people find out about this she is forced to wear a scarlet “A” on her chest as a symbol for adultery. Throughout the novel she discovers her husband was in Boston, but had changed his name and was a doctor. It is also discovered later in the novel that the identity of the father of her child which she refuses to disclose in throughout the novel is the town minister.

Explain: The novel was banned because it was based on a sin, adultery. Throughout history is has been seen that religion plays a big part in peoples lives even more so than now and adultery is one of the 10 commandments or one of the 10 biggest sins. Therefore this book openly talking about adultery and basing peoples lives on adultery seems wrong and not right to the people living in this time period.

Compare/Contrast: There are multiple other novels today that are not banned because of its sexual/friendly content. Works of literature such as Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina is also about a woman who commits adultery and then rejects her husband. However in this novel she is not shunned by her fellow citizens. She is also not supported by the father of her child unlike Hester in The Scarlet Letter. This novel is not banned because it does not make assumptions about the people of the community. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester is turned away by her people because she violated their values and in Anna Karenina other people are not mentioned. The difference between the two novels is that The Scarlet Letter makes assumptions about religious people and Anna Karenina does not.

Identify: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Explain: The novel To Kill A Mockingbird has been banned multiple times in some school districts or even states because of the racial slurs, racism, and promotion of white supremacy.

Describe: To Kill A Mockingbird is about a black man who was charged for abusing and allegedly raping a white woman in a predominately white town in the South. In this time, 1930s, African Americans were not liked and were not treated as human beings especially in southern states. The man being accused, Tom Robinson, was being defended by a white attorney, Atticus Finch, who was a father of two. This case exposed stereotypes of African American people to his children all all the other people in the town.

Explain: The book was banned for its racism because it used terms like “negro” and promotion of white supremacy because there was a suspicion that the girls father, Bob Ewell, had abused her but because the Bob Ewell was white and Tom Robison was black, he seemed like the more obvious criminal. Tom was tried in court and not Bob because of the color of their skin. This showcases the accusations of both racism and the promotion of white supremacy. Just because her father is white he couldn’t have abused his daughter, however, because Tom is black he has to be guilty. At least that is what it seems like in the novel when Tom is being questioned.

Compare/Contrast: A book similar to To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. The novel by Maya Angelo is about a child attacked by a man much older than herself and how she has to live with the consequences for the rest of her lifetime. Both novels are about people being abused by a white man however in To Kill A Mockingbird the attacker is a black man, or at least that is what the victim said and in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings the victim is a person of color.

Book of choice - Ulysses

Banned because it contained strong language as well as sexual subjects

The overall plot of the book is viewing multiple perspectives of an event as well as how different people view the same day as well as one of the main characters Leopold’s day as he talks to multiple people.

1933-The book had a chapter published in a literary magazine and some readers were not happy with it because it contained a masturbation scene as well as use of vulgar language. Judges stated the work came from a person with a disordered mind. The most rational explanation for the book being banned is that the “traditional values” at the time were in question and obstructed people’s morals.

Book in novel - Bible

The Bible was banned because it contained literature that allowed for an individual in the dystopian future to believe things for themselves rather than have the media say otherwise.

The Bible describes events having to do with the birth of Christ and teachings of Christ and his apostles. It is a book detailing the religion of Christianity.

This book went against societal norms and it taught something that clearly went against the government trying to keep the people uninformed and unintrigued.

Book of choice- The Absolutely True Story of the Part-Time Indian

This book was banned because of the profanity as well as explicitly sexual talk. The talk of masturbation was controversial and the regular use of profanity also made some readers uncomfortable.

This book follows the life of Arnold Spirit, who is Native American, as he enters his first year of high school. It details his troubles at the reservation as well as his troubles in a primarily white school. Arnold also has trouble with his identity as to what he has to be for him to become successful.

Book of Choice - The adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Jim - Escaped slave

Escapee from Huck’s adoptive guardian

On path to travel down mississippi river in order to escape

Tom - Huck’s friend

Huck - Young white runaway

Disregards white-societal expectations

Against “civilized world”

Only person who sees past

Duke & King - Con Men

Book in novel - Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Uncle Tom - a devout slave and christian to his master, Mr Shelby

Eliza - Mother

Uncle Tom’s cabin is a novel about the journey of Uncle Tom, a devout christian slave, Eliza Harris and her child, both slaves as well. Uncle Tom and Eliza are both from the same owners, the


1&2. Art should not be protected by the government because it is a way of expressing oneself, so it can be seen as both freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

3. Books become dangerous when they become suggestive. When novels tell people to do things or give hits at what they should change, it becomes dangerous because information is interpreted differently and the wrong message can be sent.

4. Certain literatures should be banned when they become suggestive on methods of changing the government or social structures for worse. For example, a book ex[laining how to turn a state into a communist state should be banned because it is suggesting something bad. Literature should not be banned of challenging religious and social views because it offends people. It is then again going against someones ability to speak freely. For example, The Scarlet Letter should not be banned just because it talks about adultery. Not all people believe in religion therefore the novel does not challenge any religious views they have set.

5. I feel like the government decides what is and is not banned to protect their self image and reputation. As well as to ensure nothing challenges their power so that the government remains in power.

6. Sometimes schools ban books as well.

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