Top 10 Most Banned Or Challenged Classic Novels In America

Top 10 Most Banned Or Challenged Classic Novels In America

Over the years, there have been numerous books with great literary value which have been banned or challenged due to the sexual content, violence, and profanity they contain. Many of these books are classics and were written by renowned authors such as George Orwell, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and Toni Morrison.

Just in case you’ve been looking to read a banned book here is an interesting list you can choose form:

1. “The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

“The Great Gatsby”, Fitzgerald’s age-old classic, is one of the most banned books of all time. This literary classic tells the story of the ambitious Jay Gatsby and his affection for Daisy Buchanan. The novel is a recommended literary read in many high schools but has been numerous times for “”language and sexual references in the book.”

In 1998, “The Great Gatsby” was named the 20th century’s best American novel.

2. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

“To Kill A Mockingbird”, whose main theme is racism, has faced several challenges since its publication in 1960. The book has been singled out mainly for its use of strong language and racial slurs.

3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie

According to the American Library Association, this book was among the top 10 most frequently banned books in 2015. The reason stems from its use of strong language, sexual references, and racial slurs.

4. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison

The book, which centres around the life of an African-American slave who escapes captivity, has been a controversial topic for its scenes of violence and sexual material. Though Toni Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize, in 1988 for the book, it has been challenged and banned on several occasions. One parent described the sexual scenes depicted in the book as being “too extreme for teenagers” and requested for the removal of the book from a high school reading list.

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5. “The Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

In this book by the Nobel-Prize-winning author, William Golding, a group of British boys are stranded on a island and have to find ways to survive. The novel is often challenged for the “vulgar” language, sexual portrayals, and violence it contains. The American Library Association described the books as “…demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal.”

6. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

J.D. Slinger’s coming-of-age book about Holden Caulfield has stirred controversy for a long time on  whether it should be recommended for young readers. In 1960, an Oklahoma teacher got fired for assigning the book to a class of 11 graders and numerous schools have banned it for its use of strong language.

7. “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker

Another book which won the Pulitzer Prize, “The Color Purple” has been banned by numerous school boards and libraries for its graphic scenes of rape, racism, violence, and sex. The American Library Association lists many challenges about the book including: “…troubling ideas about race relations, man’s relationship to God, African history, and human sexuality.”

8. “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov

From France, England to Argentina, “Lolita” has been banned in several countries because the book tells the story of a middle-aged man, Humbert Humbert, who has a sexual relationship with adolescent Dolores.

9.”Harry Potter Series” by J.K. Rowling

Though the Harry Potter books have gained a large audience around the world, they have have been the target of criticism mainly for their portrayal of witchcraft. According to the American Library Association: “Any exposure to witches or wizards shown in a positive light is anathema to traditional Christians who believe the Bible is a literal document.”

10. “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison

Another novel by the award-winning Toni Morrison, “The Bluest Eye” tells the story of Pecola Breedlove who deems herself ugly and wishes for blue eyes. In 2006, the book received a lot of criticism for its profanity, sexual references and scenes regarded as too extreme for students.

Which of these books do you think deserved to be banned? Let us know in the comment section below.


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