Censorship is a controversial topic that has been around for years. It sets boundaries for the entertainment viewed by the public. Throughout history, there have been many books that challenged these boundaries which ultimately led to their banning. William Golding’s classic novel Lord of the Flies challenges censorship regulations and has been banned on multiple occasions due to its use of offensive language, violence, and racism.
“Censorship is the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive” (American Civil Liberties Union). The censorship of books restricts part of the population from reading or viewing certain novels or articles (Barbara). There are pros and cons to censoring the public from certain books. A few positive outcomes include limiting hate speech and advertisements that are harmful or dishonest, protecting creators’ rights, and possibly protecting young viewers from violent, sexual, or disturbing content (Barbara). Although this may make censorship seem like an acceptable concept, there are many negative aspects as well. Such as the fact that it often encourages ignorance, challenges free speech, and limits intellectual freedom (Barbara). There are many possible reasons why a certain book or article may be censored by the public. However, books are often banned or challenged as a way of censorship due to their use of offensive language, sexually explicit content, or content that can be argued as unsuitable for the age group it is directed towards (Barbara). Censorship is a controversial topic that has advantages and disadvantages that affect the community and have an impact on many curious people’s lives.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding follows a group of boys between the ages of 8 to 14 who become stranded on an island after a plane crash (Pennsylvania State University). After understanding the difficult circumstances they are in, they try to create a democracy amongst them that brings civilized rules and intentions (Pennsylvania State University). The oldest boy, Ralph, is voted “chief” by the others and tries to govern the rest of the group in a civilized manner (Pennsylvania State University). However, a deviant boy named Jack leads a smaller group that disagrees with Ralph’s approach to survival and rebels against him (Pennsylvania State University). Jack and the rest of his “hunters” act savagely and become oddly passionate about killing animals (Pennsylvania State University). This eventually leads to more sadistic behavior that ends up killing two of Ralph’s most loyal followers, Simon and Piggy (Pennsylvania State University). There are many possible themes to this book, including the classic good versus evil and the loss of innocence (Sparknotes). However, one possible theme is the thought that all humans, even children, return to their natural animal instincts as soon as they lose touch with civilized society (SparkNotes). This and the overall questionable content of the book seemed to be very controversial for many schools and parents.
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is considered to be very controversial. Such controversy focuses on the books’ use of profanity, racist undertone, and the violence that is seen in the content and themes of the novel. In the book, the boys say many cuss words and often use God’s name in vain (American Library Association). It can also be argued that the novel has racist undertones. This is because there are instances where characters use the “N-word” and in one specific chapter, the boys put mud on their faces while hunting a wild pig. Many people of the black community believed this to be racist. However, according to Pennsylvania State University, “Golding’s intention was for the mask created by the face painting to represent a moral freedom from right and wrong, rather than representing what Golding believes is wrong”. The other main issue many people have with this book is the violence it portrays. Such violence can be seen when Simon is accidentally killed after being mistaken for a monster in the woods (Pennsylvania State University). Another example is when Piggy suffers a horrific death after Roger, one of Jack's more vicious followers smashes him under a boulder (Pennsylvania State University). The content of this book was seen as offensive and not suitable for children by many schools and parents, which led to its censorship and banning in parts of the US.
The censorship of books restricts part of the population from reading certain novels or articles and is viewed as a common solution when books contain content that may seem controversial. William Golding’s classic novel Lord of the Flies has been questioned on multiple occasions for its controversial content which ultimately led to its banning and censorship.