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Banned and Challenged Classics

( ALA )

Animal Farm
by Orwell, George

Animal Farm has been banned or challenged multiple times, especially in classrooms, for its 'political theories', because 'Orwell was a communist' and banned internationally because, 'it criticizes corrupt leaders who abuse political power', etc. (Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds)
Call Number:
PR6029 .R8 A63

Go Tell It on the Mountain
by Baldwin, James

Challenged as required reading in the Hudson Falls, NY schools (1994) because the book has recurring themes of rape, masturbation, violence, and degrading treatment of women. ( See Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds for more information.
Call Number:
PS3552.A45 G6

Clockwork Orange
by Burgess, Anthony

Call Number:
PR6052.U638 C5

Naked Lunch
by Burroughs, William S

Call Number:
S3552.U75 N3

In Cold Blood
by Capote, Truman

Banned, but later reinstated after community protests at the Windsor Forest High School in Savannah, GA (2000). The controversy began in early 1999 when a parent complained about sex, violence, and profanity in the book that was part of an Advanced Placement English Class. (
Call Number:
HV6533.K3 C3

Awakening, The
by Chopin, Kate

'Retained on the Northwestern Suburban High School District 214 reading list in Arlington Heights, IL along with eight other challenged titles in 2006. A board member, elected amid promises to bring her Christian beliefs into all board decision-making, raised the controversy based on excerpts from the books she'd found on the Internet.' (See for more details.)
Call Number:
PS1294.C63 A61

American Tragedy
by Dreiser, Theodore

Call Number:
PS3507.R55 A7

Invisible Man
by Ellison, Ralph

Removed from the high school English reading list in St. Francis, WI (1975). Retained in the Yakima, WA schools (1994) after a five-month dispute over what advanced high school students should read in the classroom. Two parents raised concerns about profanity and images of violence and sexuality in the book and requested that it be removed from the reading list. (
Call Number:
PS3555.L625 I5

Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Challenged at the Baptist College in Charleston, SC (1987) because of "language and sexual references in the book. (
Call Number:
PS3511.I9 G7

As I Lay Dying
by Faulkner, William

'Banned in the Graves County School District in Mayfield, KY (1986) because it contains "offensive and obscene passages referring to abortion and used God's name in vain." The decision was reversed a week later after intense pressure from the ACLU and considerable negative publicity.' (See for more details.)
Call Number:
PS3511.A86 A85

Lord of the flies
by Golding, William

"Critics at Owen (North Carolina) High School challenged the book in 1981 for being 'demoralizing' by implying that man is little more than an animal, and the appropriateness of the novel as a reading assignment was challenged at Marana (Arizona) High School in 1983." "The Toronto (Ontario, Canada) board of education ruled on June 23, 1988 that the novel is 'racist and recommended that it be removed from all schools,' after parents and members of the black community complained that it degraded blacks because the boys paint themselves and savagely hunt and kill both wild boars and later several of their group, while they refer to themselves as a 'tribe.'" "In 1992, the novel was challenged as indecent by protesters in the Waterloo, Iowa, schools. The challenge was based on perceived profanity, lurid passages, and statements viewed as being derogatory to minorities, women, and the disabled." (See Banned in the USA for more details.)
Call Number:
PR6013.O35 L6

by Heller, Joseph

Call Number:
PS3558 .E476 C3

Farewell to Arms
by Hemingway, Ernest

Call Number:
PS3515.E37 F3

For Whom the Bell Tolls
by Hemingway, Ernest

Call Number:
PS3515.E37 F6

Sun Also Rises
by Hemingway, Ernest

Call Number:
PS3515.E37 S8

Their Eyes Were Watching
by Hurston, Zora Neale

Call Number:
PS3515.U789 T5

Brave New World
by Huxley, Aldous

Call Number:
PR6015.U9 B65

by Joyce, James

Burned in the U.S. (1918), Ireland (1922), Canada (1922), England (1923) and banned in England (1929). (
Call Number:
PR6019 .U9 U4

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
by Kesey, Ken

Banned from the St. Anthony, ID Freemont High School classrooms (1978) and the instructor fired. The teacher sued. A decision in the case 'Fogarty v. Atchley' was never published. Challenged as part of the curriculum in an Aberdeen, WA High School honors English class (1986) because the book promotes "secular humanism." The school board voted to retain the title. Challenged at the Placentia-Yorba Linda, CA Unified School District (2000) after complaints by parents stated that teachers "can choose the best books, but they keep choosing this garbage over and over again." (
Call Number:
PS3561.E667 O5328

Separate Peace
by Knowles, John

A Separate PeaceChallenged in Vernon-Verona-Sherill, NY School District (1980) as a "filthy, trashy sex novel." Challenged at the Fannett-Metal High School in Shippensburg, PA (1985) because of its allegedly offensive language. Challenged at the McDowell County, NC schools (1996) because of "graphic language." (
Call Number:
PS3561 .N68 S4

Sons and Lovers
by Lawrence, D. H

Call Number:
PR6023.A93 S6

Lady Chatterley's Lover
by Lawrence, D. H.

Lady Chatterley's LoverBanned by U.S. Customs (1929). Banned in Ireland (1932), Poland (1932), Australia (1959), Japan (1959), India (1959). Banned in Canada (1960) until 1962. Dissemination of Lawrences novel has been stopped in China (1987) because the book will corrupt the minds of young people and is also against the Chinese tradition.
Call Number:
PR6023.A93 L2

Women in Love
by Lawrence, D. H.

Seized by John Summers of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and declared obscene (1922). (
Call Number:
PR6023.A93 W63

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Lee, Harper

Call Number:
PS3562.E353 T65 2006

The Call of the Wild
by London, Jack

Banned in Italy (1929), Yugoslavia (1929), and burned in Nazi bonfires (1933). (
Call Number:

Naked and the Dead
by Mailer, Norman

Call Number:
PS3525.A4152 N3

Tropic of Cancer
by Miller, Henry

Now hailed as an American classic, Tropic of Cancer, Henry Millers masterpiece, was banned as obscene in [the United States] for twenty-seven years after its first publication in Paris in 1934. Only a historic court ruling that changed American censorship standards, ushering in a new era of freedom and frankness in modern literature, permitted the publication of this first volume of Millers famed mixture of memoir and fiction, which chronicles with unapologetic gusto the bawdy adventures of a young expatriate writer, his friends, and the characters they meet in Paris in the 1930s. (ProQuest eBooks)
Call Number:
PS3525.I5454 T7

Gone with the Wind
by Mitchell, Margaret

Call Number:
PS3525.I972 G686

Song of Solomon
by Morrison, Toni

Challenged, but retained, in the Columbus, OH schools (1993). The complainant believed that the book contains language degrading to blacks, and is sexually explicit. Removed from required reading lists and library shelves in the Richmond County, GA. School District (1994) after a parent complained that passages from the book are "filthy and inappropriate." (
Call Number:
PS3563 .O8749 S66

by Morrison, Toni.

"Beloved has been challenged in school districts because of the violence that permeates the novel." See Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds for more details.
Call Number:
PS3563 .O8749 B4

by Nabokov, Vladimir

Banned as obscene in France (1956-1959), in England (1955-59), in Argentina (1959), and in New Zealand (1960). The South African Directorate of Publications announced on November 27, 1982, that Lolita has been taken off the banned list, eight years after a request for permission to market the novel in paperback had been refused. Challenged at the Marion-Levy Public Library System in Ocala, FL (2006). The Marion County commissioners voted to have the county attorney review the novel that addresses the themes of pedophilia and incest, to determine if it meets the state laws definition of unsuitable for minors.
Call Number:
PS3527 .A15 L618

by Orwell, George

"Many attempts have been made to rid school libraries of 1984 in the nearly 50 years since its publication. In his introduction to Celebrating Censored Books, Lee Burress identified the 30 most frequently challenged books ... 1984 ranked fifth." See Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds for more details. Challenged in the Jackson County, FL (1981) because Orwell's novel is "pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter." (
Call Number:
PR6029.R8 N49

Satanic Verses
by Rushdie, Salman

Banned in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Quatar, Indonesia, South Africa, and India because of its criticism of Islam. In Pakistan five people died in riots against the book. Another man died a day later in Kashmir. Challenged at the Wichita, KS Public Library (1989) because the book is "blasphemous to the prophet Mohammed."In 1991, in separate incidents, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator, was stabbed to death and its Italian translator, Ettore Capriolo, was seriously wounded. In 1993 William Nygaard, its Norwegian publisher, was shot and seriously injured.
Call Number:
PR6068.U757 S28

Catcher in the Rye
by Salinger, J. D.

Call Number:
PS3537.A426 C3 2001

by Sinclair, Upton

Banned from public libraries in Yugoslavia (1929). Burned in the Nazi bonfires because of Sinclair's socialist views (1933). Banned in East Germany (1956) as inimical to communism. Banned in South Korea (1985). (
Call Number:
PS3537.I85 J85

Grapes of Wrath
by Steinbeck, John

Burned by the East St. Louis, IL Public Library (1939) and barred from the Buffalo, NY Public Library (1939) on the grounds that "vulgar words" were used. Banned in Kansas City, MO (1939). Banned in Kern County CA, the scene of Steinbeck's novel (1939). Banned in Ireland (1953).Removed from two Anniston, Ala. high school libraries (1982), but later reinstated on a restrictive basis. (
Call Number:
PS3537 .T3234 G8 2006

Of Mice and Men
by Steinbeck, John

Banned in Ireland (1953); Syracuse, IN (1974); Oil City, PA (I977); Grand Blanc, MI (1979); Continental, OH (1980) and other communities. Challenged in Greenville, SC (1977) by the Fourth Province of the Knights of the Ku Klux KIan; Vernon Verona Sherill, NY School District (1980); St. David, AZ (1981) and Tell City, IN (1982) due to "profanity and using God's name in vain." Challenged at the Newton, IA High School (2007) because of concerns about profanity and the portrayal of Jesus Christ. Newton High School has required students to read the book since at least the early 1980s. In neighboring Des Moines, it is on the recommended reading list for ninth-grade English, and it is used for some special education students in the eleventh and twelfth grades. Retained in the Olathe, KS ninth grade curriculum (2007) despite a parent calling the novel a 'worthless, profanity-riddled book' which is derogatory towards African Americans, women, and the developmentally disabled. (
Call Number:
PS3537.T3234 O2

Sophie's Choice
by Styron, William

Call Number:
PS3569.T9 S67

Lord of the Rings
by Tolkien, J. R.

Call Number:
PR6039.O32 L6

Rabbit, Run
by Updike, John

Banned in Ireland in 1962 because the Irish Board of Censors found the work "obscene" and "indecent," objecting particularly to the author's handling of the characters' sexuality, the "explicit sex acts" and "promiscuity." The work was officially banned from sales in Ireland until the introduction of the revised Censorship Publications Bill in 1967.Removed from the required reading list for English class at the Medicine Bow, WY Junior High School (1986) because of sexual references and profanity in the book. (
Call Number:
PS3571.P4 R3

Cat's Cradle
by Vonnegut, Kurt

'The Strongsville, Ohio School Board (1972) voted to withdraw this title from the school library; this action was overturned in 1976 by a U.S. District Court in Minarcini v. Strongsville City School District, 541 F. 2d 577 (6th Cir. 1976).' (See and Literatures Suppressed on Political Grounds for more details.
Call Number:
PS3572.O5 C3

Slaughterhouse Five
by Vonnegut, Kurt

Banned in Rochester, MI because the novel "contains and makes references to religious matters" and thus fell within the ban of the establishment clause. An appellate court upheld its usage in the school in Todd v Rochester Community Schools, 41 Mich. App. 320, 200 N. W 2d 90 (1972). Banned in Levittown, NY (1975), North Jackson, OH (1979), and Lakeland, FL (1982) because of the "book's explicit sexual scenes, violence, and obscene language." Challenged in the Howell, MI High School (2007) because of the book's strong sexual content. In response to a request from the president of the Livingston Organization for Values in Education, or LOVE, the county's top law enforcement official reviewed the books to see whether laws against distribution of sexually explicit materials to minors had been broken. "After reading the books in question, it is clear that the explicit passages illustrated a larger literary, artistic or political message and were not included solely to appeal to the prurient interests of minors," the county prosecutor wrote. "Whether these materials are appropriate for minors is a decision to be made by the school board, but I find that they are not in violation of criminal laws." (
Call Number:
PS3572.O5 S6

Color Purple
by Walker, Alice

The Color Purple has been challenged multiple times and occasionally removed from classrooms. The novel was first challenged in 1984, when parents of students in the Oakland (California) High School honors English class complained that the book was inappropriate reading because of its "sexual and social explicitness," especially its "troubling ideas about race relations ... and human sexuality." The book was removed from the classroom, pending review by the Oakland board of education. (see Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds for more info.)
Call Number:
PS3573.A425 C6

All the King's Men
by Warren, Robert Penn

Challenged at the Dallas, TX Independent School District high school libraries (1974). (
Call Number:
PS3545.A748 A7

Brideshead Revisited
by Waugh, Evelyn

Call Number:
PR6045.A97 B7

Native Son
by Wright, Richard

Call Number:
PS3545 .R815 N25


Award Description
Each year, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from libraries shelves and from classrooms. These titles are books on the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century that have been banned or challenged.

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