Friday, December 12, 2008

Banned , Censored, Challenged: The Diary of Anne Frank

This book has been repeatedly censored throughout history. Let's not forget that it was originally a young woman's diary and as such contained discussion of menstruation, sexual feelings, and her criticism of her mother.

Keeping kids from reading Anne Frank isn't going to keep them from talking about menstruating, nor will it stop sexual feelings or occasional anger toward their parents.

Teens do that anyway. What's healthy is to give them a book that shows that everyone goes through such things- even when they are being persecuted.

One parent of Arab ancestry once objected to the book because it portrays a Jewish girl (so now, we have to take all the Jews out of the books? Should Arab children not read about Einstein or Isaac Asimov, either?)

In 1983, four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee called for the ban of the Diary of Anne Frank because it's a real 'downer' .

I can see how a book about a teenaged girl and her family having to hide from the Nazis during the Holocaust might be called a "downer". I fail to see why the historical account of true events should be manipulated to produce a sunny, happy lie.

People who think this are part of the reason why the Holocaust happened: they turn a blind eye to prejudice, ignoring the suffering of others. Then, they ban the books that tell the story: books like this one and The Grapes of Wrath and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.

To teach a human being that blindness is a virtue is unforgivable, but that's what the banning of books does: it lets you believe that that the only thoughts you ever need to entertain are the ones that confirm your own view of the world.

1 comment:

ashleyrowell said...

The Diary of Anne Frank is one of my all time fav's. Aside from Ellie Weisel, this is one of the best accounts. It is hard to fathom why anyone would want this brave young girls story to be banned, but you would think that they could come up with something other than "it's a downer." Makes you wonder if kids are learning anything at all in todays education system. Steph, I do not know what you do for a living, but you would make one hell of a teacher.

jo oliver