Thursday, 16 June 2011

Banned Books: The Bridge to Terabithia

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech”(Slu.edu, 001). When he made this statement, he was rebutting the notion of banning books. However, Americans have not listened to what he was talking about, what the First Amendment states, or what so many others have said about not banning books. Since Mr. Franklin made this statement, hundreds of thousands of books have been challenged and many of them have been banned from public school systems around the country. One of the most challenged and banned books is “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson. More than twenty years after this book was written, it is still being banned from elementary and middle schools. The reasons that this particular book keeps being put on the banned list are religion, profanity, violence, disrespect for authority, prejudice, death, politics, and an elaborate fantasy world that might lead to confusion (Alibris.com 00). I personally think that most of these reasons are outrageous. There are many people would disagree and agree with me. I will explain the dislike point of view, the like point of view, and my point of view.

Many people do not believe that “Bridge to Terabithia” should be available at the library let alone mandatory in their child’s English class. For example, in 11, a parent in El Cajon, California objected to “Bridge to Terabithia” being available in the junior high school library and used in some fifth grade classes, citing a portrayal of a preacher, treatment of death on a theological level, and encouraged students to have contempt for the church. Then, a review board was set up so they then could vote for the book to stay or be taken out. The review board finally comes to the conclusion that this book would be retained and taken out immediately (Banned USA, 158). The predominant reasons why these parents complain are profanity, death, religion, and the disrespect for authority. There is a great amount of profanity used in this book, but I am sure that there is not a bad word that is used that they do not hear on the television or from other children. The reason death is such a big issue is that the main character’s best friend does die at an ever-young age. I believe that by the time children are in late elementary and middle school they should know about death and learn how to deal with it in a clam matter. The religion aspect is taken seriously because of the views of the young characters and how it is put down or not believed by these children. However, children do need to learn that not everyone has the same beliefs. Disrespecting authority is one of the biggest reasons why the book is challenged so often. The disrespect that is shown in this book is to the teacher and the boy’s father; mainly because of the way that these two people treat these children (Bridge to Terabithia, 68-111). I do not understand how, because of one parent, no child at that junior high school will be able to read this book. People that believe that this book should be available stand on the points of the first amendment, that it teaches, and it enlightens children. They stand on the first amendment because it says that no one has the right to take away your freedom of speech and press, and people really stick to their rights to freedom. The reason people believe in this book because it teaches and enlightens children. The book teaches how to handle death and friendships, how to stand up for yourself, and how to be a child by using your imagination. Many people have lost their imagination because of television, computer, and video game. Some people have said that this book is a moving story, good lesson in life, inspirational, characters that you can relate no matter how old you are, opens floor for good discussion, and a wonderful story about loyalty and friendship (Epinion.com 00). There was one man said it the best “I understand that the use of this book in classrooms is frequently challenged by parents. If the reason for this is that the central crisis of the book may be too intense for children, I can sympathize with their feeling. Nevertheless, it seems like an intensity that is well worth their children’s while. Ms. Paterson handles the situation quite beautifully and affords a real opportunity for parents to discuss the matter of death with their kids, a topic which most families hopefully have not much had to cope with. Reading the book is a difficult emotional experience, but better to first confront these emotions in a controlled fictional setting and begin top learn how to deal with them, than to remain totally sheltered and have to deal with them, completely unprepared, when the tragedy is real” (Brothersjudd.com, 18). I do have to say that I agree with schools not banning this book.

I do not think that any book should ever be banned. I believe that books are where we find great knowledge. I especially believe in this book. I read this book when I was a young child and learned a lot from it. In fact, I read this book more than fifty times. I think that this book teaches many valuable lessons that children start to learn at a growing age and this book helps them to figure out these things for themselves. I remember the major lesson I learned was how to deal with death and suicide. I do not know what I would have done with out having this book to rely on. I know that a lot of parents would not agree with me on letting their children learn about death in fourth, fifth, or sixth grade, but they are learning about sex and drugs before this so why not teach them about death.

This book has to be one of the most truly powerful reading experiences. I have had I still find myself comparing parts of my life to scenes in this book today. I have never read a book more saturated with intensity and emotion. It is a true wake-up call to all kids today who are either over-privileged or lucky enough to not have had to deal with some sort of tragedy in their lives. More than twenty years later, the book continues to find new audiences. Despite the controversy surrounding its censorship by certain states’ school boards, it has become traditionally required to a few lucky young students (Ulster. net, 000). Some say that written word is dangerous, it makes one believe, act, even think. This is the reason that many people support the Unconstitutional act of banning books.

Buy Banned Books: The Bridge to Terabithia term paper

1) Paterson, Katherine

Bridge to Terabithia

Harper Collins Publishers, 177

Harper Trophy, New York, New York

) Foerstel, Herbert N.

Banned In the USA

Greenwood Press, 14

Westport, Connecticut and London


) Petersen, Eric

“An Analysis of Bridge to Terabithia”

March 4th �th 000


Date of access /6/00 Internet

4) No one was named as the author

”Banned Books Week Celebrate Your Freedom to Read Expose Your Mind to a Banned Book”

Timely Topics, Pius XII Memorial Library

September nd-th 001


Date of access /6/00 Internet

5) Written entrees by many different people

”Read Reviews on Puente Hasta Terabithia”

November 1st 1-November 15th 00


Date of access //0 Internet

6) An Ebay Writer (name not given)

“Books You Thought You’d Never Find/New, Used, Rare, and Out-of-Print Books”

May 1th-1th 18


Date of access /1/00 Internet

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