ENG 232 E
December 10, 2014
Taboo & Censorship Taboo is a term that refers to “a cultural or religious custom that does not allow people to do, use or talk about a particular thing as people find it offensive or embarrassing” (Oxford Learners’ Dictionary). Incest and pedophilia are taboos that are heavily prevalent in the novel Lolita. Although the novel is provocative and contains elements that are uncomfortable to most readers, Lolita should not be censored nor banned from any literature courses.
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, censorship is described as “the act of changing or suppressing speech or writing that is considered subversive of the common good”. The concept of censorship dates back…show more content… To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee was reportedly temporarily banned in 1977 in Eden Valley, Minnesota due to its offensive language such as “damn” and “whore lady” (Doyle). It was also challenged in township schools in the state of Indiana because teachers claim that the book executes “psychological damage to the positive integration process" and "represents institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature” (Doyle). I remember reading this book in my junior English class in high school. The events that occurred throughout this novel pointed towards racism, which was prevalent during that time. The racial slurs were somewhat uncomfortable to read during that time, but looking back now it was good exposure to learn how my people were treated and were shown no justice even when the evidence proved innocence. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is another representation of censorship due to racism and offensive language. It was initially banned in Concord, Massachusetts in 1885. The language that was used in the novel was vocabulary that was used daily by society during the time when Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The argument that many people use in the banning of this novel is that it is racially insensitive and insinuates the continuation of racism…show more content… The book was initially banned in France in 1956 because the British embassy stated that “too many susceptible tourists were buying it and smuggling it home” (Pifer 181). It was not published in its entirety in the United States until 1959, where it immediately became a bestseller and remained at the top of America’s list of bestsellers for six months (Pifer 181). Critics went back and forth about the content of the book. There were of course positive and negative reviews on Lolita, and whether or not people should be reading this book. Orville Prescott, a book reviewer for the New York Times, criticized Nabokov’s work