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Don't ban books, ban ignorance

Don't ban books, ban ignorance

I was dusting our bookshelves the other day and looking at some of the titles of the many books we have.

Many are classics such as “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne, “The House of the Seven Gables” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defore, “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Washington Irving’s stories of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

My dad had a collection of books that we now possess. In his collection, there were a number of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs including a number of Tarzan Books. Also he had “The Land time Forgot,” “The Lost Continent,” “The Moon Maid,” “The Moon Men,” and many others

One of the old books we have is “Pilgrim’s Progress” written by John Bunyan and published in 1678. I learned to read from listening to my mother reading this book aloud to me and watching her finger point to each word.

Though I did not understand the contents of the book, the end result was a major factor in my education.

As I looked at the many classics on our shelves, I got to wondering just how many of the students of today, in fact from several years ago, have ever read any of the above mentioned books.

Possibly some might have seen movies of some of the classics. One of the better-known books was “Moby Dick” written by Herman Melville, published in 1851. Between 1926 and 1956, there were three movie versions. The 1956 version, starring Gregory Peck in starring role of Capt. Ahab, follows closely the original novel and uses the original ending.

Jules Verne, an early science fiction writer, had numerous books that were made into movies. The filmography of Verne’s books are “Mysterious Island,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

Several other adaptations based on Verne’s novels have been produced.

There is a long list of classics that have been made into movies featuring some of the greatest stars of Hollywood.

I watched one of the old classic movies, “The Time Machine,” based on the book by H.G. Wells. Other books by Wells that have been made into movies include “The War of the World,” “The Invisible Man,” and “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”

Some of the real classics in past years have come under fire for many reasons such as the book being racist, offensive language, sexually explicit, or encouragement of “damaging” lifestyles with some individuals and groups demanding that the books be banned from schools and public libraries. Some of those banned are:

• “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell because it contained the “N” word.

• “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck uses the name of God and Jesus in a “vain and profane manner along with inappropriate sexual references.”

• “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain because they are racist and use the “N” word,

• “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown because the subject is slanted in that it teaches readers to idolize “Indian fighters.”

• “Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury was banned in some places because of offensive language. The interesting thing about this book is that it deals with the censoring, banning and burning of books

• “For Whom the Bells Toll” by Ernest Hemingway was banned by some countries,

• “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was a story about slavery in America in the 1800s. Southerners considered the book to be “slanderous” and “criminal,” and “utterly false.”

• “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare contains sex, violence and obscene language.

• “Moby Dick” has been banned in some libraries for it challenges values within the community.

Some crazy reasons have been given for the condemnation and banning of some books. “The Wizard of Oz” was banned in some libraries because Judy Garland was a drug addict and also the content about witchcraft.

Here’s a dilly of an excuse for banning a book. “Charlotte’s Web” was banned by some because the spider dies and “Old Yeller” also has been banned in some places because the dog died. The banning of books is nothing new. The earliest dates back to around 250 B.C. and in 640 B.C., the library in Alexandria, Egypt, was burned because it contained Greek writings and ideas.

In the last century, Nazi Germany was the scene of many book burnings.

To my thoughts, we all have the freedom of choice. If you don’t like a book, then don’t read it. But don’t violate other people’s freedom to read if they so desire through censorship.