Banned and Challenged Books: Of Mice and Men

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Banned and challenged book, blog post series, of mice and men
Of Mice and Men

This is not how I planned this post to go. But as I wrote the original, this idea formed. It wasn’t enough to just say why books were challenged or banned. I wanted to make it more close to home. So I focused on the 21st century events for each book that I’m going to talk about.

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What gets me about this book is how many people try to get rid of it because of language and viewpoints of the time. Like, you want kids to learn about history, well, this is history. It’s horrible and terrible and rough. But it’s too late to rewrite it. So, learn from it.

2001
Banned due to the use of foul language, racism, violence, and being inappropriate for the target audience.

2003
Because of its “racism, obscenity, and filthy language,” this book was challenged as mandatory reading at Grandville High School in Michigan. Because of vulgarity, he has been banned from George County (MS) schools.

2004
Because it includes “racial slurs, vulgarity, violence, and does not reflect traditional values,” the book is being challenged at the Normal (IL) Community High Schools.

2005
Because it includes “racial slurs, vulgarity, violence, and does not reflect traditional values,” the book is being challenged at the Normal (IL) Community High Schools. Steinbeck’s The Pearl, a possible replacement book, was provided but rejected by the family that was disputing the work. In the end, the committee advised that viewers see The House on Mango Street and The Way to Rainy Mountain as other options.

2007
Students from Greencastle-Antrim (PA) tenth-grade English courses were retained. A complaint was made against the author because of the use of “racial slurs” and profanity throughout the work. The book has been in use at the high school for more than thirty years, and those who were offended by its content were given the choice of reading an alternate reading material instead.

2008
Prohibited from showing the film at Newton (IA) High School due of concerns about profanity and the depiction of Jesus Christ It is believed that students at Newton High School have been obliged to study the book since at least the early 1980s. Despite a parent’s criticism that the novel is a “worthless, profanity-riddled work” that is “derogatory towards African Americans, women, and the developmentally impaired,” the novel was retained in the Olathe (KS) 9th-grade curriculum.

2015
Despite the protests of two parents who objected to the use of the curse word “Jesus Christ,” the use of the n-word to disparage African Americans, and the usage of the epithet “Japs,” the book was kept on the Brauberd (Minnesota) School District curriculum. This sort of language, they maintained, was incompatible with the principles of respect that parents were attempting to inculcate in their children, and the book should be removed from the curriculum. Parents and kids who are offended by the profanity may choose for another book by the Nobel Prize-winning author instead of reading this one.

2016
It has been recommended that 9th-grade English lessons in Coeur d’Alene be removed from the regular curriculum and made offered solely on a voluntary, small-group basis as an alternative (ID). Because of its use of profanity – such as the words “bastard” and “God dammit” – the book is inappropriate for children. Besides citing the profanity, the curriculum committee deemed the narrative of two migrant ranch workers working during the Great Depression to be too “negative.” According to a school district committee that is assessing novels taught in the schools, the novella should be retained as an option for English instructors to give to their classrooms rather than being reduced to a voluntary, small-group discussion. The vote was 4 to 1 on June 1, 2015.

2021
Racist insults and racist stereotypes were banned and contested because of the destructive impact they had on students’ lives.

Following complaints from members of the community about the books, administrators at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights (Minnesota) have “paused” instruction in two of them: Of Mice and Men was challenged for its use of the N-word, and Montana 1948 was challenged because of “concerns about the content” raised by members of the local American Indian community. While visiting his uncle’s family in Montana in 1948, the protagonist’s uncle abuses and subsequently kills the household’s Sioux housekeeper. In response to these protests against racist language in educational materials, the district sought out and adopted methods for dealing with controversial instructional materials.

The superintendent of the Burbank Unified School District issued a statement following parent complaints about the use of racist epithets in To Kill a Mockingbird, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Cay, Of Mice and Men, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. The district removed these titles from its English curriculum’s required reading lists, and the use of the N-word was prohibited in all school classes. Despite the fact that the books will be permitted in classroom libraries, no student will be obliged to read them. “This is not about censorship,” the superintendent remarked at a board meeting, “this is about putting right the wrongs of the past,” he added.

I remember reading this in middle school. An all white, mostly male, Catholic middle school in South Philly in the late 80s. And I think I need to sit down and read it again. How about you? Have you read it? How old were you? Let me know.

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission. Again, if you like what I post, please like, comment, share, and subscribe. Please consider donating to help keep this going. $1 and I’ll ask you what your favorite book is so we can talk about it. $5 and I’ll write a review of a book you suggest. $10 and I’ll write a blog suggested by you. That’s all I’ve got for today, train wrecks. All aboard.

2 thoughts on “Banned and Challenged Books: Of Mice and Men

Add yours

  1. I read it as a freshman in high school (as well as To Kill a Mockingbird), which was mostly Asian though there were also large groups of white and black students. Back then, I wasn’t even aware of books being banned across the country since now it turns out my classmates and I read a lot of books that one district or another has banned at one point. But our English teachers spent a lot of time discussing the themes, ideas, and historical context with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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