Friendship, love, being realistic- all good qualities, right? Prejudice, violence, profanity- all bad qualities. The book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a controversial book within school libraries. This novel has all of the qualities listed above: friendship, love, courage, prejudice, violence, and profanity. Should this book be banned from schools because of its "vulgar" material, or should this book not be banned because of its great lessons on friendship? This book shouldn't be banned from schools, but should rather be embraced because of its lessons on life. The good qualities easily conquer the bad, and sets this brilliant book away from other controversial novels.
Of Mice and Men shows violence in where a man, George, kills his best friend Lennie by shooting him in the back of the head. People who are for banning this book, will claim that shooting your best friend is an example of violence.
I agree, but these people who claim that idea, refuse to see why George shoots Lennie. After Lennie kills a woman in the town, her husband is after him. He plans to torture him and make him have a slow, painful death.
" Curley came suddenly to life. ' I know who done it,' he cried. ' That big son-of-a-b*tch done it. I know he done it'Ã¢ÂÂ¦ ' I'm gonna get him. I'm going for my shotgun. I'll kill the big son- of- a- b*tch myself. I'll shoot 'im in the guts.'" (Pg. 96) Either way, Lennie would have died. However, would people rather read of a character dying slowly by torture, or read of a character who dies fast and by a person who loves him? Instead of it being an act of violence, the shooting incident should be seen as an act of friendship.
Another controversial issue in this book, is the use of profanity. A few times in the novel, the words "d*mn", "b*tch", and "wh*re" are used. People for banning Of Mice and Men might argue that kids who read this book will use this profanity on others, yet, I, as a person against banning this book, completely disagree with this claim. This book is read by children in high school, who are mature enough to know when and where to use those words.
" 'Come on, ya big b*stard. Get up on your feet. No big son- of- a- b*tch is gonna laugh at me. I'll show ya who's yella.'" (Pg. 62) The people for banning don't realize that most, if not all of the kids who read this book, know the words "b*stard" and "b*tch" in this novel. If 9th graders are mature enough to read this book, what makes people think they're not mature enough to read profanity scattered in a book? The word "nig*er" is a word used a couple of times in Of Mice and Men. I, as well as others, usually don't tolerate this word being used, but in this case I do. In this book, prejudice is linked to being realistic. This book takes place during the Great Depression. During that time, racism was still taking place. It would be unrealistic if John Steinbeck used the term "African American" instead of "nig*er." " ' This is just a nig*er talkin', an' a busted-back nig*er. So it don't mean nothing, see? '" (Pg. 71) In this passage, it shows how African- American people were treated during the Great Depression. Furthermore, this novel would lose its beauty without this realism.
Banning Of Mice and Men would be an unjust and ridiculous thing to do. Taking away this book would take away one of John Steinbeck's greatest works. It would give the idea that every book with violence and profanity should be banned. Imagine every book with these qualities in it being taken away. Banning this book will lead to the banning of others. Do we really want our youth's eyes to be shut to reality, or do we want them to enjoy the books, which will open their eyes?