How to Talk to Students About Censorship
Why is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn banned?
Hi! This is Meghan Lynn Allen for About.com, and today we'll discuss how to talk to your students about censorship.Censorship in the classroom is a difficult subject and it needs to be handled with tact and sensitivity. In the school setting, it often centers around the topic of book banning. For example, let's take a look at The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It's a very important work by a very important author. But it has a prevalent use of the 'n' word, and this is often offensive to many readers as well as school officials. This book is often requested to be banned from libraries.Especially in the case of older students, it's important for them to understand the context. In this case, Twain was talking about the time. He was using language that reflected language that reflected the time period in which this story took place. And he also used the language to reflect the plight of slaves. However, it is still the fourth most banned book in America.This is an opportunity to talk to students about more than just the book itself. You can talk about censorship, what are their beliefs on it, do they think certain words should or should not be included in books? And do they think certain books should or shouldn't be included in the school curriculum? Who should decide who censors a book, if anybody?And should it just be modern books that get banned, or are all books subject to being banned? Is it more important to learn lessons from books than being shielded? For example, some religious texts feature murder and adultery and other unwholesome acts in order to teach a parable. Should these books be banned based on morality issues?Keep in mind the age of your students. A middle school student, for example, may not be ready to tackle these difficult subjects. And you can also try prepping your students. They can do an assignment on the book before they even read it, about the history of the book to give them some insight.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.