Famed as the only book that Harper Lee – journalist friend of eccentric playwright Truman Capote – ever wrote, the Pulitzer prizewinner ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ told of lawyer Atticus Finch’s successful attempt in 1930s Alabama in saving a black man named Tom Robinson framed with rape from the gallows, albeit with tragic circumstances. It’s regarded as one of the most important 20th century works of literature, particularly in regards to racial understanding, yet this didn’t stop the book being banned in Lindale schools, Texas for ‘conflicting with the values of the community’.
What those values were, one can only worry….
‘There’s no place like home,’ opined Dorothy, as she clicked her heels together in trying to return to Kansas. If she’d been blown off course to Tennessee, she’d be disappointed to find that Frank Baum’s famous tale had been challenged in a lawsuit brought out by several Christian families disgusted at the book’s assertion that essential human attributes were ‘individually developed rather than God given.’
A controversial publication in 1850, Hawthorne’s tale inspired the 2010 Emma Stone film ‘Easy A’ which took a lighthearted appraisal of The Scarlet Letter’s plot. It also inspired bans for being ‘pornographic’ and ‘obscene’. Puzzling, as the book is completely free of sex and sexual language. The only way you can tell anyone in the novel has had sex is because the main character, Hester Prynee, is pregnant.
One true classic of children’s literature, and filmed in 2009 by acclaimed director Spike Jonze, a child psychologist named Bruno Bettelheim condemned the book in 1969 as psychologically damaging for preschoolers, as hero Max suffers the wholly inappropriate punishment of being sent to bed without his dinner! It was also banned by states in Southern USA in 1963, mainly due its depiction of witchcraft and the supernatural.
The classic tale of Man vs Whale is one book many claim to have read yet few actually have, blaming the thin plot hidden within reams and reams of boring whaling stuff. This book was another banned by a Texas education board for “conflicting with the values of the community”.
They must just love white whales down in Texas!
Published in 1932, this was Huxley’s take on life in the UK in 2540. Amongst the lovely changes in store for humans was the idea that no one had sex any more. This didn’t stop it being removed from classrooms in Miller Missouri in 1980 for ‘promoting promiscuous sex’ and in India in 1967 for being ‘pornographic’. Spoilsports.
No doubt you’d be hard-pressed to find a Kansas cinema showing ‘Babe’ around that time too…