The Politics of Censorship in Literature: A Case Study of To Kill a Mockingbird

Art and the Politics of Censorship in Literature

There are a number of ways to look at the politics of literature, and one of the most controversial is that of censorship. Censorship can be seen as a way to control what people read, and how they interpret it. It can also be seen as a way to prevent people from being exposed to certain ideas or ideologies that may be considered harmful. In recent years, there has been a growing movement to censor certain types of literature, particularly those that are considered to be offensive or harmful. This paper will explore the issue of censorship in literature, with a focus on the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, and is set in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the great depression period. The novel follows the story of Atticus Finch, a white lawyer who is appointed to defend a black man named Tom Robinson who has been accused of raping a white woman. The trial is seen as a test of the town’s racial tolerance, and Finch’s daughter Scout is an eyewitness to the events that unfold. The trial ends with Robinson being found guilty, despite there being no evidence to support the claim against him. Robinson is then killed while trying to escape from prison. The aftermath of the trial sees Finch’s family being subject to threats and harassment from members of the community who are unhappy with the outcome.

Censorship in literature can be traced back to Ancient Greece, where plays were often censored for religious or political reasons. In more recent times, there have been calls for books such as To Kill a Mockingbird to be banned from schools due to their allegedly offensive content. In 2012, there was a petition to have the book removed from school curriculums in Alabama due to its “offensive language.” The petition claimed that the book contains “vulgar” words such as “nigger” and “rape.” It also claimed that the book is “anti-white” and promotes “racial disharmony.”

Arguments for censorship typically center around the idea that certain types of literature are deemed to be harmful or offensive. It is claimed that books like To Kill a Mockingbird can promote racism by using offensive language, or by presenting negative stereotypes of minority groups. It is also claimed that such books can have a negative impact on children, who may not be able to understand the complex issues at play.

Arguments against censorship typically focus on the importance of free speech and expression. It is claimed thatcensoring literature does not address the underlying issues that lead to offensive content being created in the first place. It is also claimed that censorship can have a chilling effect on creativity and open debate. Censoring books like To Kill a Mockingbird does not make them disappear – it simply makes them harder for people to find and read.

The issue of censorship is complex, and there are valid arguments on both sides. However, it is important to remember that literary works are intended to be interpreted by individuals in different ways. What one person finds offensive may not be offensive to another. It is also important to remember that literary works can be used as tools for education and discussion. Books like To Kill a Mockingbird can help us to understand difficult concepts such as racism and discrimination. They can also help us to challenge our own assumptions and prejudices.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to censor a particular work of literature should be made on a case-by-case basis. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of censorship. What is important is that we remain open to different interpretations of literary works, and that we allow for open dialogue and debate.


Censorship of art is the suppression of artwork that is deemed by the government or other authority as offensive, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient. Censorship can be applied to many different types of artwork, including books, plays, films, television programs, internet content and even paintings or sculptures.

Censorship has been a part of literature throughout history. In some cases, censorship was used to protect religious or moral values; in others, it was used to political ends. In more recent years, censorship has often been used to suppress minority views or dissenting opinions.

Governments censor literature for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they may deem certain ideas to be dangerous or subversive; in others, they may simply want to control the flow of information and prevent people from accessing certain materials.

Censorship can have a negative effect on artists and their work by preventing them from expressing themselves freely and openly. It can also limit the audience for their work and make it difficult for them to find publishers or distributors willing to carry their work.

While censorship can have negative effects on literature, it is not always bad for books or authors. In some cases, censorship can actually help to increase interest in a book or make it more popular than it would otherwise be.

Censorship has had a profound effect on literature throughout history. It has often been used as a tool to suppress dissent and control the population.