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Transcript of Harper Lee
LA Lit 2H Block 3 Harper Lee's Censorship Biography When did the censorship take place? In one interesting case study from the 1980s on efforts to censor To Kill A Mockingbird, researcher Jill May found that there had been at least ten common objections raised against the novel since in was first published What works were involved? Lee's only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird was involved for three reasons. Firstly, schools and libraries argued that it used the "N" word about 50 times in the entire novel. Secondly, it featured racist implications towards the government, though advocates of the novel stated that it was simply helping racism be acknowledged. Lastly, critics argued that the court system Lee wrote about was false because she implied that it was unfair due to prejudice against African Americans What form did the censorship take?
Was it a demand for editorial changes, or was a book banned from a library or school? School districts in the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia attempted to have the book removed from standard teaching curriculum in the 1990s,stating:"The terminology in this novel subjects students to humiliating experiences that rob them of their self-respect and the respect of their peers. The word 'Nigger' is used 48 times the novel... We believe that the English Language Arts curriculum in Nova Scotia must enable all students to feel comfortable with ideas, feelings and experiences presented without fear of humiliation... To Kill a Mockingbird is clearly a book that no longer meets these goals and therefore must no longer be used for classroom instruction." Is the censorship still taking place? As of now, the censorship still takes place in some libraries and school districts across the country. Such places include Cherry Hill, New Jersey where the novel was banned because the school board feared it would upset African American children reading it. Another place is Brentwood, Tennessee where the book was challenged due to it containing profanity and adult themes. These are just two of the many cases against To Kill a Mockingbird. What was done to fight the censorship? Harper Lee wrote a letter in 1966 to the Hanover County School Board in Virginia after they banned To Kill a Mockingbird from school libraries state-wide:
“Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that To Kill a Mockingbird spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is ‘immoral’ has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink. I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. Therefore I enclose a small contribution to the Beadle Bumble Fund that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice.” What were the results? Today, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most controversial classics of all time. It is ranked number 21 of the 100 frequently challenged books. Even after more than 50 years of seeing print, readers still argue about the appropriateness of the book for younger audiences. Those against the novel, argue that is contains immoral themes and foul language that should not be introduced to schools. Advocates of the book state that it is an important key in the acknowledgment of racism. It all depends on the opinion of the reader. Thank You and Have a Good Day!! :) Many aspects of Harper Lee's life were reflected in her only novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee was born in Alabama, raised by a father who was a lawyer, and acted like a tomboy. Scout, the protagonist in the novel, shared the same upbringing and personality.
Shortly after moving to New York to pursue her literary career, Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960. The novel became instantly popular and received the Pulitzer Prize a year after its publication. After the success of her novel, Lee ended her writing career. Since then, she has avoided the press and anything having to do with To Kill a Mockingbird.
Fun Fact: Harper Lee is a descendent of Robert E. Lee the Southern Civil War general. Bibliography bannedbooks.world.edu/2012 (2012 R. Wolf Baldassarro; accessed 10 November 2012)
harperlee.com/bio (accessed 10 November 2012)
censorshipandtokillamockingbird.weebly.com (accessed 10 November 2012)