Guid Essay

Guid Essay

Fahrenheit 451: Tyranny On Forbidden Education – Free Essay Example

Imagine living in a society where it was first established that freedom of speech and freedom of press will be protected, now imagine people stripping that away because they don’t agree with what was said or posted, it seems a bit contradicting, right? Many authors and publishers experience this when their material such as books or websites become censored because parents or libraries disagreeing with it and have the intention of protecting their children or students. Many of the material that influences this disapproval are profanity, violence, sexual encounters, and offensive language. Censorship of books and technology in schools limits the knowledge students can learn as well as the comfort they can provide.

A book is banned when someone “challenges” it (ALA). The American Library Association explains a challenge can be defined as “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.” If the challenge is successful, it will result in a ban meaning the books are removed or not placed in schools, public libraries, or universities. Censorship can go either unnoticed or obvious, but to ALA, still harmful. Typically, libraries across the United States and parents report hundreds of challenges annually. Pressures that come from them had reinforced censorship which leads to self-censoring meaning students may not voice their opinion in the fear of offending someone or the students will be ignorant of certain things. Usually, teachers have felt the obligation to choose books that are appropriate to the school’s standards to avoid any complication. The American Library Association tracks the challenges placed on books to libraries, schools, and universities and the books that are banned because of it. In 2018, 483 books were recorded banned by the ALA’s office for intellectual freedom. This event means that there were at least 483 books banned from schools recorded. Many times, of why a book is banned is to protect the children from reasons such as “offensive” language, “sexually explicit’ and “unsuited to any age group” content (ALA). While these are credible reasons, Noam Chomsky, argues, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expressions for people we despise, we don’t believe in it all.” This event illustrates that everyone has an opinion or in this case books and that opinion or book should not be thrown away because it is not agreeable to some.

John Mill Stuart expresses the words against censorship, “… silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race… if the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit,..”. Meaning, if the majority opposes the minority’s opinion, they should not shut them down but learn and interpret it. Students can learn from different points of view in books that allow them to understand the character’s actions and feelings. 451 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of the ignition of paper, turned into a novel by Ray Bradbury, “Fahrenheit 451” that was challenged and banned in 1987. Bay County, School Board in Florida had given the book a third-tier status, meaning it was too vulgar and banned for religious purposes for the controversial events in the novel. The book is set in a dystopian future where knowledge is perceived as dangerous and ironically books are burned to prevent spreading knowledge as if it was a disease. In the book, Faber, a character in the novel, said, “We do need knowledge. And perhaps in a thousand years, we might pick smaller cliffs to jump off. The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are.” (Bradbury 40). This event shows Faber believes in preserving the knowledge to help humans learn from their mistakes. Without the knowledge from books, humans will repeat history and make mankind suffer. Banning this book seems to discourage the marketplace of ideas. The limiting of the marketplace of ideas is counterproductive to maintain the marketplace itself and limiting students from learning about the danger of totalitarian rule.

Banning Fahrenheit 451 is not the only book that limits students from retaining knowledge or lessons that the book has to offer. Books are a gateway for many children into another world. Banning books limits diversity and many books can also be relatable, understandable, and even supportive of students. According to Regan McMahan, “There is more to a book than the swear words in it.” Meaning, banning books for profanity is wrong because the language adds realism to the story and the book, in general, has a deeper meaning. Banned books oftentimes provide up to date or topical content where many young readers can find a character whom they can relate which can provide a strong reading experience and help the reader cope or sort through issues such as depression, sexuality, torment, and sexual assault. The banned book, “The Outsiders”, portrayed the struggles of a pair of brothers surviving in a lower-class neighborhood, while it was banned for having “mature” content, many students claim it was that book that turned them into a reader (McMahan). Many controversial books such as, Hear My Cry, which is a book about an African American family living through racism in the 1930s, can give students the potential to explore topics about sexuality, violence, abuse, and racism through the storyline. This virtual reality lets students examine morality and build empathy for the characters and can apply that in reality.

Parents and libraries may argue that students should not be exposed to any explicit content, whether it be sex, violence, drug use, or profanity. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics found that exposure to these can impact the child by making them more aggressive and insensitive to violence. Although the exposure to these things can alter a child’s behavior, Robe Harries, an author frequently challenged for her books, states, “I think these books look at the topics, the concerns, the worry, the fascination that kids have today… It’s the world in which they’re living.” Many books such as, “The Great Gatsby”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and “Their Eyes were Watching God”, are considered required reading to become educated on literature and American history. Banning these books would mean the opportunity for students to learn cultural and historical knowledge and understand different points of view would be taken away. Also, according to a study by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, the Harry Potter series, which was challenged multiple times because of the appearance of witchcraft, taught students the importance of having knowledge, friendships and to not give up because of your background.

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Parents and libraries also claim that keeping the books with explicit content out of schools and public libraries protects the child and while they argue that banning books will stop students from looking into the material, evidence counteracts this. Students often look into things they are told not to and things that are considered prohibited because of curiosity: “When schools censor ideas, students become increasingly interested in such subjects and typically discover some clandestine means to gain access to these taboo ideas.” (Petress 246). If students are left to interpret these ideas alone, they are left alone to establish what is allowable in society and what is not, which is not the ideal thing to do because as students they may lack the ability and judgment to understand these ideas, and most of the times lead to poor results. Nevertheless, if teachers teach the material, they can guide the students by ‘contextualizing, prioritizing, or explaining what the student has secured’ without having that worry (Petress 248). This event shows that students can learn the importance of books in the right way with proper guidance.

Book banning is not the only form of censorship schools have, in our era of technology that has raised it is more common for students to be on it to complete an assignment but may reach to a stop when they are researching a topic or wanting to watch a video on YouTube if they didn’t understand the material from their teacher. A form of blocking websites is called “Blacklisting” (Henry Francis), which blocks the website from the school server meaning students are no longer able to access it. Another form of detaining websites is called “Whitelisting”, while blacklisting is when schools block certain websites, whitelisting is when the school creates a list of websites picked for the students to be able to get on. The reason for blocking is relatively the same for banning books, schools, and teachers may have concerns for the students regarding cyberbullying, violent pictures, pornography, and racist content. According to the American Association of School Libraries, 98% of schools in America use censor filtering to block off certain websites that students are no longer able to access. While schools may block websites for the protection of students, schools are also persuaded by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), because the schools can receive federal allowance if they agree to censor online content that disagrees with CIPA standards. CIPA determined in federal law, “… all schools and public libraries must protect minors from viewing obscene or harmful images when using the internet.” (CIPA). This means that under federal law it is required for students under 17 must be on censored software. Though CIPA and schools want students protected from certain content they are also restricting web information that may be beneficial for their curriculum. A study by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Online Policy Group (OPG), showed that the blocking software from CIPA miscalculate up to 78% – 85% of the website information that did not need to be. They were able to measure this by testing millions of websites and found that for each website blocked, more would be incorrectly blocked. This shows that websites could be able to help students with their research, homework, or understanding of something are shut off and kept away from them by miscalculation. Also, CIPA critics point out that students are already exposed to unfiltered access outside from schools or students are able to use proxies to give them access (Monica Fulgei). A way to protect students from experiencing this alone is to educate them from the potential harm online websites have to offer and expand their media literacy strengths.

“Books are a health food for your brain and dessert for your soul”, (Pat Williams). Books have the ability to fill student’s minds with knowledge and according to research, it can be more beneficial than harmful if books are not censored. Although parents, libraries, and other organizations believe it is in the child’s best interest to keep them away from “explicit” content they fail to realize that as the children grow up, they will face the reality of society and all of the “explicit” content with it. Students should be able to grow intellectually and be guided to avoid ignorance. Teachers, parents, facility, can teach students the different views, dangers, and ideas books and websites have to offer without limitation.


  1. Ediaz. “Banned Book FAQ.” Advocacy, Legislation & Issues, American Library Association, 30 July 2019,
  2. Conger, Cristen. “How Book Banning Works.” HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 12 May 2008,
  3. Leighton, Mara. “10 Books That Were Banned or Challenged Heavily around the US Last Year, According to the American Library Association.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 27 Sept. 2019,
  4. Mussey, Gretchen. “Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.”,,
  5. McMahon, Regan. “Why Your Kid Should Read Banned Books.” Common Sense Media: Ratings, Reviews, and Advice, Common Sense Media, 28 Aug. 2019,
  6. “Banned Books – Top 3 Pros and Cons.” ProConorg Headlines, 23 Sept. 2019,
  7. “Internet Blocking in Public Schools.”, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Online Policy Group, 26 June 2003,
  8. Francis, Henry. “How Do Schools Block Websites?” Synonym, 4 Apr. 2017,
  9. “Books.” National Coalition Against Censorship, 6 Mar. 2019,

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