The Question: Banish Harry Potter?
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The Question: Banish Harry Potter?
Everyone loves to sit down and read a good book that really makes you get into it. What about a type of literature that really makes you wonder and is not realistic but fun to read about because it is different. Then maybe you should read the book called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which was written by a talented writer named J.K. Rowling. This is an amazing book that is very popular, but then at the same time very disliked by some also. Witchcraft and other mythical actions happen upon this novel and can capture your mind in the first chapter. It can capture children and adults alike; this is not just a book for children. Some adults think otherwise though because many of them have been trying to ban Harry Potter books from public schools. Many adults that think this have caused a great amount of arguments between the school districts and community. A vast amount of parents say it is evil and inappropriate to read to students accounting that they may believe in bad beliefs from now on. Harry Potter should not be banned from public schools because you have your own rights, it is your belief with different views, and you can’t control the whole public school.
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Harry Potter School Districts Own Right J.k. Rowling Capture Public School
First, everyone has their own right to do what they want pretty much. An adult or even student can speak up and say what they want to do and what they do not want to do. For example, in other schools, parents have been pulling their children out at reading time if one of the books in the series is read to students (McCuen). You can do this because it is your right on what you want your children to read or hear. The only thing is you do not have to be a child to enjoy this great and impressive book (Rowling). It is your right of speaking what you have on your mind. If you do not want to read the Harry Potter novel than that is perfectly fine. You can have your choice on what you want to read, write, and watch. The only problem with speaking your own mind is that you do not have the right to speak for everyone else and ban this novel from the whole school. J.K. Rowling said that you don not have a right on telling to say that I am a proponent of the occult in any serious way (Chippendale). It is your right for you and only you to choose what you want to do and not for you to ruin it for everyone else.
Nobody is forcing you to do anything you do not want to in public schools. Even Rowling herself says you do not have to read my book and Harry along with his friends are fighting against evil, and not promoting it (Chippendale). As long as you do not feel right by reading it then they will not make you. They are adults as well and will understand how you feel about this novel. J.K. Rowling does say once you get into one book then it like forces you to keep reading (Rowling). By attempting to ban and complaining to the district and other places about this novel will force everyone in the school not to read it. You cannot make a big deal about this and force a law to a public school with several different children and adults (Aferguson). That is the only right I believe anybody should not have control over.
Next, is the view that certain people have on this type of novel. Real witchcraft is extreme and can be very violent (World). From my point of view Harry Potter is definitely not as violent as real witchcraft. Many readers view this as an international phenomenon, garnering rave reviews, and major awards (Rowling). Some people may see this is an evil book and is absolutely horrible for society. Then again others could think this is a very amazing book with several good meanings behind it. Like Most children, parents, educators and grown-up Harry Potter fans think that it's absurd to censor a book with typical magical children's-book themes that kids love and one that has made reading popular again (McCuen). Everyone looks at it and something different will come to his or her mind. A view is kind of like an opinion because everyone has one. Some say it is just another fiction book like all the rest on the fiction shelves. A great amount of people view Harry Potter as Art and banning it is another step towards curbing our world's creativity and ability to "think outside the box." (Aferguson). Our society is too much alike and is to dull, this book really helps out society with an open mind.
Belief plays a major role into this Harry Potter argument. Such as a Christian father said it is teaching bad morals like lying, stealing, cheating, and other moral failures (Chippendale). Everyone has different beliefs on what they think is good and bad. It says you don’t have to be a wizard or believe in witchcraft to enjoy the spell cast by Harry Potter (Rowling). Certain beliefs completely forbid anything that has to do with mythical actions and any kind of witchcraft. Several groups and individuals believe the books are satanic because they contain wizards and witches (Chippendale). This belief should not affect the whole public school though because not everyone believes what one single person or group does. Witchcraft is a belief that supernatural powers can happen in the world (World). Some may have the same belief but many people may be stricter with their religion than what other people are to that same religion (Aferguson). I believe that beliefs do play a major role in protecting their children and everything but you have to be lenient on some stuff such as literature, which is different.
Finally, all of this believing leads into the whole you cannot control the whole public school. A whole bunch of public schools think Harry Potter is a great book to read to the students to show them what to learn of fantasy (Chippendale). One person should not have the right to ban one single book and its series from an entire school district. This novel captivates many different kinds of people even including the sports fans and is a great public book to read (Rowling). Harry Potter has created some frightening incidents, but you can't blame the Harry Potter (Aferguson). A public place is a place that is opened to a variety of cultures and different views. That is why a public school is considered public because it is supposed to be opened to all kinds of beliefs and views. This is a place for open-minded people to experience different situations and a variety of people. There are so many magnificent creations and life experiences that you can learn from this novel because people decided to explore out of their own little bubble and not think of it as evil (Aferguson). There are all kinds of different arts everywhere from around the world and not all of it is going to be the same, which makes the public unique.
If you are narrow minded then maybe you and your children should not be in a public school. Harry Potter is a fairy-tale kind of adventure that you have to be very imaginative in. There are so many magnificent creations and life experiences because people decided to explore out of society's bubble (Aferguson). You have to be opened about this because it is a different type of book that people are not used to reading about. The novel really makes us think about everything and its magical wonders that could not be possible but just enjoyable to read. It has a fantastic spin on sports, student rivalry, and eccentric faculty contributes to the humor, charm, and, well, delight of her utterly captivating story (Rowling). Variety is good for a human and learning about different types of literature. To ban the magical and fantastical of Harry Potter is to ban all fairy tales but a lot of children will recognize the difference between fantasy and reality (McCuen). That is the whole point of learning different types of literature so they can understand what is wrong, what is right, what is real, and what is false. This is all apart of growing up going through different opportunities and not being so sheltered from everything that the world has to offer.
Harry Potter should not be banned from public schools because you have your own rights, it is your belief with different views, and you can’t control the whole public school. It is your right of speaking so do not ruin it for everyone else that goes to the same school. There is nobody forcing you what to read and what not to read. If your religion is against it then just talk to someone about it and say you cannot read it they will most definitely understand. Your view is like an opinion everyone has their own and can make their own decision about the novel. Taking it away from the whole public school is unnecessary because you have to be opened with everything a public school holds. Being narrow minded about this fiction book is very hasteful and selfish. I have read all the Harry Potter novels and watched all the movies out, and none of them affected me. They are just really good books and movies to read and watch. Banning the Harry Potter books is very unnecessary to public schools.
Aferguson. “Should Harry Potter books and films be banned from schools?.” 2006.
10, July 2007. .
Chippendale, Lisa. Triumph of the Imagination: The Story of Writer J.K. Rowling.
Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2002.
McCuen, Barbara. “Should Schools Ban Harry Potter for Promoting Witchcraft?.” 2000.
10, July 2007. < http://www.speakout.com/activism/issue_briefs/1319b-1.html>.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1997.
World Book Encyclopedia. Vol 21. “Witchcraft.” Chicago: World Book Inc.,2003.
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Against Banning Books
August 30, 2009
At first glance, the debate over banning books appears unimportant. Nevertheless, this debate has divided our nation into those who favor censoring books to protect their impressionable adolescents, and those who argue that education should be open for everybody without interference from the government in restricting the publishing and accessing of these books. Issitt argues that censoring books violates the First Amendment, stating that "citizens must be free to seek out any media, regardless of content, that they deem appropriate for entertainment, information, or education. Denying the rights of the consumer, in any area, is one of the hallmarks of authoritarianism."
While I do not equate banning books with "authoritarianism," we do endorse Issitt's belief that individual citizens have the right to choose, under their own discretion, what books to read. The First Amendment protects the freedom of expression and speech, and by prohibiting certain messages, the government clearly infringes upon public rights. On the other hand, Healey claims that censorship does not "repress information that teenagers and children are exposed to," but merely gives parents the rights to educate their children in the ways they deem appropriate. Though I concede that parents do have the right to monitor what their children read, they do not have the right to remove books from public libraries or monitor what other children in the city read. Healey attempts to persuade readers that "censorship of books should not be about silencing voices on important topics, but about steering young people toward the best possible literature;" however, she fails to specify what constitutes as "the best possible literature." Some of "the best possible literature" also happen to cause the most controversy, including Huck Finn, Harry Potter, The Scarlet Letter, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Those who protest against these books have clearly not studied them in depth. For example, the main theme in Huckleberry Finn focuses not on advocating racism, as some suggest, but proving that race does not define a person's intelligence or capability for compassion. Even Healey admits that "concerned parents and community members react without taking the time to closely investigate the books they want banned."
While I agree that parents should play an active role in educating their children and as their primary guardians, have the legal right to monitor what their children read, I disagree that this legal right extends to controlling what other children in the neighborhood read as well. Prohibiting children from reading a book will not enhance their moral values. Rather, banning a book more likely will increase curiosity for reading it. I also empathize with parents who ban books with controversial or uncomfortable subjects because they are unsure as to how their children will react or how to explain such topics. A good way to discuss these subjects with children is to read books with various views on the subject so that children can experience multiple points of view before forming their own opinions. Healey herself agrees that such a method "might help young people better understand the world they live in, the human condition, and issues they face in their culture."
As Healey stated, parents also tend to ban books based on "moral grounds, although some books have been condemned for their perspectives on civic values and history." For this very reason, the general public should read these books. Our society, especially our younger children, needs to read these books since fully understanding a topic requires knowledge of both sides. If we choose to disregard even a highly unpopular opinion, we intentionally choose to live in ignorance, only partially educated in a topic we claim to know so well. Without a doubt, if we continue to ban books and ignore what some consider taboo topics, we hinder ourselves and our children from finding ways to solve society's problems, thus hampering the development of our nation as a whole.
Many conservative groups make the argument that the books that have been banned have material that is inappropriate, immoral or contradicting the beliefs they have ingrained in their children and/or their society. Take for consideration the controversial books that tackle difficult, touchy social issues like homosexuality. Books like "Heather Has Two Mommies," by Leslea Newman and "Daddy's Roommate" by Michael Willhoite (both books written for youth with gay parents) were shot down by conservative groups because they attempted to educate children about homosexuality, an issue parents felt needed to be taught to their respective children by them. While this may seem like a valid argument, really it is just skirting around the actual issue. Book-banning cases usually concern the protection of children and their innocence, but all that is happening is sheltering parents showing an awkward avoidance of their children's confrontation with uncomfortable matters. It is not only selfish, but also harmful to the overall education of their children. This act of prohibiting books is just the parents way of evading of the conversation with their child about these sensitive issues. These two books are issues that Healey brings up in her argument on how groups were upset about the way these books informed their children of homosexuality. Homosexuality and other touchy social issues are part of every day life, and for a group to attempt to censor this subject from younger society is almost absurd; these issues are not monstrous and the censorship of them not only shows prejudice but lack of respect. Banning books seems to be the most public solution for a private matter- not everyone should have to suffer restrictions because one group feels uncomfortable with the book. That being said, there are often books that contain graphic and often highly inappropriate material; I do consent that these books should be censored at the discretion of the parent, or anyone involved however, no one is forcing books upon others, so we should not be forced to remove them. Other groups would say that it's also the duty of the government to regulate these books to protect concerned citizens and their families, but I would have to disagree. It's the exact opposite of the government's role- our private lives, the books we read, should be regulated and controlled by us. Banning books from public congregations is not what the government was intended to do.
Topics that seem socially outlawed in public, let alone published, have been banned because their immoral content may have a negative affect on younger children. In these books, authors doesn't promote or encourage bad behaviors, they prepare their readers for some of the real world challenges. The child would never be able to learn these things if the book was banned, nor be able to form his or her own opinion about that certain topic. Healey discusses that the book, 33 Snowfish, a "dark story of three teenage runaways who are victims of various forms of abuse..." by Adam Rapp may be an unsuitable way to educate children on these timely topics. However, having these stories banned all together would just further shelter a child whose parents may not be willing to discuss these issues with them at all. Even though these books center around scary topics, they are educating children on real life matters that they will be exposed to once they venture into the world themselves. Healey goes on to make the point that the books should not be banned as well, since it is a matter of private opinion not one to be made by the public libraries of a community. She suggests that schools should "inform parents about the kinds of books they offer children" in their libraries and classrooms instead of banning them. With the knowledge that some of these books have to offer, children can learn how not to act and what can be the consequences if they do misbehave. This learning experience could turn around with the help of a parent and pass a positive affect over the child.
Clearly, banning books not only hinders a child's educational development but also leaves them unaware of the true state of the world. Books do not simply impart general information; they heavily influence a child, the future generation. Without regular access to books, both adults and children could not form sound opinions, only narrow-minded ones. Both advocates and opposers of book banning agree that "books are powerful instruments." Otherwise, a debate on the subject would neither have arisen nor lasted so long. Because books "can be used to...inculcate values and transmit ideology, and to stimulate the imagination," as Healey suggests, any person should remain free to select his or her reading material. This personal issue of selecting reading material has no relation to the government. On the contrary, government action interferes with individual education, a primary American value. Ultimately, children can learn personal responsibility in determining which books to regard and which to discard. In the future, these children will become well-educated adults who can benefit the American society.