Book burning and consequences

  September 4, 2003 at 9:30 PM ET
  James     The Leaky Cauldron (via Bennington Banner)

Southern Vermont College professor Catherine Burns pens an articulately styled pieceopens in new window on book-burning and the effects it entails for any person, young or old: '...millions of imaginations would be stifled, having been deprived of the freedom of literature.' Burns warns of the increasing regularity of this practice by extreme political and religious group.

Luckily enough for us, Catherine Burns also happens to teach a class on this particular subject.

Books such as the "Harry Potter" series have been targeted by certain groups as anti-Christian literature, as has Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" for racist over- and under-tones.

Various groups have called for the banning of certain books for a multitude of reasons: Graphic sex, violence, alleged religious heresy, etc.

But if one book is banned, why not another? And another after that?

More importantly, who will decide which books are banned, and which aren't?

Burns relates some of the harsher examples of book that seem to exist solely to be challenged for its right to take up space in the public library. These however, are correctly placed in any such setting and teach many lessons, directly or indirectly.

...Although books like Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" may make the gorge rise in our throats, and perhaps the same thing would happen to some of us after perusing Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues," these books exist for a reason.

They are designed to teach us, about our weaknesses, about our triumphs, but mostly about being human.

Take away the books, and you take away an integral part of what it means to be a whole person.

You may be taken quite taken back by Burn's statement that book-burning is more popular today than ever before. I know I was.

There are many very informative websites that tally and protest against censorship in any form. A few of the greats are listed below.


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