Censorship is the prevention of certain ideas, phrases, or images from reaching the general public. Throughout history, censorship has occurred in the form of banning and challenging books. Although countless authors have warned against the idea of censorship, it is still prevalent today. Moreover, censorship and book challenging is especially common among YA dystopian novels. In my research, I will be discussing the effects of censorship in YA dystopian literature. Why are these books banned, and how does it affect the targeted young adult audience?
Every year the American Library Association publishes a list of the most frequently challenged books of the year and the reasoning for banning them. Within these lists are countless YA dystopian novels. Titles such as The Hunger Games and Feed are frequently on such lists. What is interesting about many of the challenged and banned novels is that their reasoning for being banned is often obscure. For example, The Hunger Games was once challenged for the “religious viewpoint”(Biller). It is interesting to me that parents would choose to challenge a book based off of a said religious viewpoint when there is so much violence that would be easier to challenge.
Another interesting aspect of censorship I wish to uncover is false censorship. My independent novel, Delirium, had some sources claim it was banned or challenged, yet I have not found any conclusive information. Could this be a marketing tactic used by the author to draw attention from young readers? It has been found that banned books are more popular among young readers because they feel that in a sense they are being rebellious by reading content that is deemed explicit. Additionally, Lauren Oliver, the author, has appeared in a YouTube live video about censorship and its effects in the past. A small detail in Delirium also covers the idea that books that promote love are banned from the fictional society.
Finally, I hope to uncover some of the effects censorship has on young adults. The content of ya dystopian literature was written by authors to address topics they felt the youth ought to be able to comprehend. Are parents being overbearing in their quest to put an end to what they deem unsuitable literature? The content is meant to evoke emotions about the current and past political states and promote change in society. By banning and challenging books that contain such important material, what are we teaching the young adults of today’s society?
Biller, Diana and Charlie Jane Anders. “The 12 Weirdest Reasons for Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy Books.” io9, Gizmodo, Sept 2014, http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-12-weirdest-reasons-for- banning-science-fiction-and-1639136022