Truth Be Told

Within centuries there have been case studies and scientific developments resulting in the written word, not only that but those concepts and ideas have been banned.

Such thoughts of racism, sexism and other discriminatory features have also found their way into the ultimate list of banned novels. Many times these bans were due to the unknown or irrational fears such as: The Catholic Church and its attempt to dissolve all efforts by scientists to prove that the Earth is in fact round, and orbits the sun. Other times it was one woman writing about how the colour of your skin determined your ranking in the world, when she herself organized a confrontation to the government making it legal for women to vote and to be classified as “persons” in the dictionary. In modern day, we would welcome new scientific revelations and instead oppose something that touched a more controversial topic, for example; religion or euthanasia. Whichever the case, whichever the development – the written word should never be silenced.

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The inability to speak honestly in your own lifetime not only seems farfetched, it’s unfair to ask an individual to relinquish their personal beliefs. It is an incredible abuse to the newly developed rights and freedoms. Once years and years ago, some would call it a more ‘barbaric’ stage of humanity. In it we were given several incredible scientists and mathematicians to give people answers when they knew nothing. In 1633, Galileo Gallilei had published a novel on the rotation of the earth around the sun and was arrested for heresy after completion of, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Not only was he sentenced to spend the remainder of his life in his home – his book was to be burned.

Not a copy left to remain as proof of his hard work and time spent in devoting that writing to better his community’s knowledge of the world around them. In Galileo’s time they knew very little of the world’s workings, how things transpired and apparently how human’s were to treat one another. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the Church apologized for their actions towards the scientist and recognized it as a mistake on their part for having banned that mans Galileo’s knowledge. This knowledge was to be proven years later against the Church’s beliefs. This was only one of many examples of the fear of truth within the world.

There was a time when Of Mice and Men was deemed unreadable for its racist content and brutality. This book has been used in schools internationally as an educational read that teaches children about the wrongs of judging based on appearances of not only colour but of handicaps as well. Also, The Diary of Anne Frank, a beautiful diary of a young girl’s thoughts, feelings and some occurrences within her family’s hideout. This book has been used for reference in some texts, and also used to demonstrate the terrible brutality that was in fact the Holocaust. Lastly, even the ever so popular Harry Potter series was also banned momentarily for its fantasy content that seems to promote witchcraft and also carries a very dark tone for such young fiction. How could books so adored, be cared so little for? It’s simple, the greatest literature is always at first perceived unfit for the public – but for books to be burned, humans to be beaten, and concepts to be bashed – I think not.

The written word is gorgeous, it’s the opportunity to speak freely without the fear of a terrible reaction, or so I thought. It seems as though even some of the greatest novels of all time carry a burden – and that burden is the closed-mindedness of some of the world. As much as I’d like to deny this fact; it’s true. Parents, adults and authorities all take control of texts and literature because they dread the content and how it will affect the most easily reachable targets, the young. What they forget to realize is that these books can be used as a learning tool, a reading help, and universal relation to others.

If one can find the bad in a harmless story about a young girl in the Second World War, I fear what they must think of Lolita, a novel by Vlad the Impaler who wrote about an older man’s relationship with a twelve year old girl. This book could be mistakenly beautiful, but at the same time controversial. How do we rid ourselves of these barriers and not just read to enjoy the wonderful world of fiction. Dive into unknown waters with pirates and large fish, delve into unknown lands and adventures, or even jumping into the past – what better than to discover our history all over again. I truly believe that banning books will not prevent anything but the considerable amount of knowledge some may have gained from the experience.