Amph America's most banned books. 1 - Huh?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by halibut, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. Champion of the Force Force Ghost

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    Dec 27, 1999
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    Read this plus the sequel in high school, plus a couple of other Cormier works (I Am The Cheese, After The First Death). I can imagine why some would want to ban it - not only the reasons given but also the fact it presents a Catholic high school run by monks engaging it not very 'Christian' behaviour (Brother Leon is a very nasty piece of work).

    I saw the film adaptation as well - not bad, although the changes it made to the ending re-twist the overall message.
  2. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    I vaguely remember "I am the Cheese"
  3. halibut Ex-Mod and 2015 Celebrity Deadpool Winner

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    4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain


    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a book by Mark Twain, first published in England in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Considered as one of the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective).

    The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Satirizing a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.

    The work has been popular with readers since its publication and is taken as a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It has also been the continued object of study by serious literary critics. It was criticized upon release because of its coarse language and became even more controversial in the 20th century because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes and because of its frequent use of the racial slur "nigger", despite that the main protagonist, and the tenor of the book, is anti-racist.



    It's worth mentioning that a "re-release" of this book is imminent with the word "nigger" replaced by "slave".


    A ridiculous over-reaction to a book that describes the time period perfectly, with a strong emphasis on the fact that slavery and racial terms are not acceptable.
  4. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Only #4? Color me surprised.
  5. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    This is a deeply moral book; so of course it's been banned. The hero, a boy with a creepy venal alcoholic for a father and no mother and no guidance whatever, works out on his own the horror of slavery. He decides to go against the cultural norms of his society..."Alright, I'll *go* to Hell!" he says...to do something that it abhors...namely free a slave. Twain based Huck on a real person, a boy from the lowest class, who later became a well-respected justice of the peace in Montana.

    From Twain's autobiography:

    "The childhood friend Tom Blankenship as the inspiration for creating Huckleberry Finn was mentioned by Twain in his Autobiography: "In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had. His liberties were totally unrestricted. He was the only really independent person--boy or man--in the community, and by consequence he was tranquilly and continuously happy and envied by the rest of us. And as his society was forbidden us by our parents the prohibition trebled and quadrupled its value, and therefore we sought and got more of his society than any other boy's." - Mark Twain's Autobiography.

    The incident of Jim, though, was Tom Blankenship's elder brother, Ben, who hid a runaway slave in the marshes all summer, though he sorely needed the money and prestige available from turning him in.
  6. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

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    Jan 27, 2004
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    I've always loved the book, I'm a huge Twain fan. Currently reading the Ron Powers book on Twain. Wasn't aware of that background info...thanks for that.
  7. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Amazing book. Tom Sawyer is a great book in its own right, but Huck Finn is just leaps and bounds above it. It's one of a handful of contenders for Great American Novel, in my opinion. It's ultimately about finding moral courage and going against social mores in order to do what is right. The "I'll go to hell" moment hasn't lost a whit of its power over the years and in the absolutely wonderful relationship between Huck and Jim, the book manages to create a real portrait of what it takes to overcome, not just violent racism, but also the million small prejudices that run our lives. If this was all Twain had ever written, he'd still be one of the greatest writers who ever lived.

    Ban the book? Edit the book? How about everyone has to read it? That just might change the world.
  8. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    They can't see the forest for the trees.
  9. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
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    What list is this thread based on?

    I've been lurking :p

    As my 11th grade English teacher once said, "most banned books" is code for "must-read books." ;)
  10. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

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    As my 11th grade English teacher once said, "most banned books" is code for "must-read books."

    I love it! :D

    Like I said earlier, I'm currently reading the huge biography about Mark Twain by Ron Powers (it's taking me forever) and much is made of the achievement of Huckleberry Finn. There's much discussion about Twain's ear for dialects, which is phenomenal. I recommend the Powers book to anyone interested in Mark Twain.
  11. Ghost Chosen One

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    Yeah, she was a great teacher! :D

    Have you read Twain's "new" autobiography? I think it was just released sometime this winter.
  12. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

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    I haven't had a chance to read it, but it will definitely be on my list. :D
  13. halibut Ex-Mod and 2015 Celebrity Deadpool Winner

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    3. The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

    The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger. Originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage confusion, angst, alienation, language, and rebellion. It has been translated into almost all of the world's major languages. Around 250,000 copies are sold each year, with total sales of more than 65 million. The novel's protagonist and antihero, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion.

    The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923, and it was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the United States and other countries for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and teenage angst. It also deals with complex issues of identity, belonging, connection, and alienation.

    In 1960 a teacher was fired for assigning the novel in class; he was later reinstated. Between 1961 and 1982, The Catcher in the Rye was the most censored book in high schools and libraries in the United States. In 1981 it was both the most censored book and the second most taught book in public schools in the United States. According to the American Library Association, The Catcher in the Rye was the tenth most frequently challenged book from 1990?1999. It was one of the ten most challenged books of 2005 and although it had been off the list for three years, it reappeared in the list of most challenged books of 2009. The challenges generally begin with Holden's frequent use of vulgar language with other reasons including sexual references, blasphemy, undermining of family values and moral codes, Holden's being a poor role model, encouragement of rebellion, and promotion of drinking, smoking, lying, and promiscuity. Often the challengers have been unfamiliar with the plot itself. Shelley Keller-Gage, a high school teacher who faced objections after assigning the novel in her class, noted that the challengers "are being just like Holden... They are trying to be catchers in the rye." A reverse effect has been that this incident caused people to put themselves on the waiting list to borrow the novel, when there were none before.

    Mark David Chapman's shooting of John Lennon (Chapman was arrested with his worn copy of the book, and inside, he had scribbled a note: This is my statement, From Holden Caulfield.), Robert John Bardo's shooting of Rebecca Schaeffer, and John Hinckley, Jr.'s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan have also been associated with the novel.

    In 2009 Salinger successfully sued to stop the U.S. publication of a novel that presents Holden Caulfield as an old man. The novel's author, Fredrik Colting, commented, "call me an ignorant Swede, but the last thing I thought possible in the U.S. was that you banned books." The issue is complicated by the nature of Colting's book, 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, which has been compared to fan fiction. Although commonly not authorized by writers, no legal action is usually taken against fan fiction since it is rarely published commercially and thus involves no profit. Colting, however, has published his book commercially. Unauthorized fan fiction on The Catcher in the Rye existed on the Internet for years without any legal action taken by Salinger before his death.
  14. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Is there something specific they don't like?
  15. halibut Ex-Mod and 2015 Celebrity Deadpool Winner

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    Yes. See books 50 through 4
  16. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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  17. Ghost Chosen One

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    This one definitely has an infamous history. Never had a chance to read it myself, though.
  18. SoloKnight Force Ghost

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    I first read this book when I was 15 and like a good percentage of teenagers, instantly identified with Holden and everything he says and feels.

    Still one of my all time favorite books and one I take out for a reread every once in a while when I'm feeling particularly down.
  19. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Great novel. It features a kid, however, being cynical, thinking about sex and using a lot of profanity. In other words, it features a kid acting like kids actually act. Ergo, it must be banned.

    I still say this book, like Hamlet, is actually about grief; Holden really is a wonderful character and that's why so many different spins have been put on the book, but my personal one is that Holden is very obviously still not at all over his brother's death. Though to reduce the book to any single reading is to do just that: reduce it. Never fails to get to me and I've read it countless times.
  20. Ghost Chosen One

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    Oct 13, 2003
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    You would think that books with a lot of violence and gore would be banned more than books with sex (or references to it), yet it's usually the other way around. Same with TV and movies.

    Is this strictly an American thing?
  21. darth_frared Chosen One

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    Jun 24, 2005
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    i read it in my early twenties and loved it.

    some time ago i spoke to a japanese lady now well into her thirties who had to read it for a course and really didn't understand holden at all. she found him quite indulgent. i explained that this maybe had to with age (but culture probably as well). now i wonder if i will have had a change of mind as well, much like i had with hamlet.
  22. Togruta Force Ghost

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    I wasn't crazy for Holden as a character, he's like the teen who's always whining about how stupid and blind other people are, but I understand there was more of a hopeful nature there. Not a favorite book, but the ending was great with those last words.
  23. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    It seems like this is one problem some people have with the book; I don't think Holden is supposed to be particularly a great guy or an insightful character. I mean, I think he's supposed to be an extremely unreliable and, occasionally, unlikable narrator; but some people, particularly nuts like Hinkley and his ilk, seem to think they're supposed to believe Holden's a prophet or incredibly wise or something. But he's not and, dicey as it is to speak for an author, I don't think Salinger ever intended him to be anything but a kid who's screwed up in the head, still grieving for his brother; I mean, the book is really about this trip on which Holden essentially finally has the breakdown that he's been holding off by sheer force of will for a very long time. It is, like Hamlet, a story about grief and the way it ***** you up in the head. I mean, all this to say, Holden is sick. I think the main thing that has led to the book being so controversial is the fact that people misread Holden and think Salinger is condoning the things Holden says and thinks when he's not at all. Frankly, if I'd written a novel and had it so utterly misunderstood by most everyone who read it, I might become a recluse too.
  24. Ghost Chosen One

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    This seems to happen with a lot of misinformed people about good books and movies... some people just don't understand that sometimes the main character isn't supposed to be a saint or any kind of role model, sometimes the main character is being written in a way that's supposed to show he/she is human and not superhuman.



    I think it's time for #2... :p
  25. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    I swear to god, if #1 is Harry Potter than this finale will not be worth the wait.:p