The Millennium Phoenix

The Millennium Phoenix

The Millennium Phoenix

Burning Words: Unveiling the truth

1984 Op-Ed

Do you feel connected?

Most people often read books to feel connected to the world or themselves. Not only do people read for that reason, but they also read to learn, to enjoy, to explore and to understand different perspectives.

But, what if the books to which you feel the most connected are no longer available? 

The books that helped you find out who you are are gone; the books that brought awareness to you are gone. Similarly, in 1984, people in the present weren’t connected to the ancient world or even know about it due to the censorship of history the party upheld to control the society of Oceania.

One might object that the banning of books is reasonable because restricting sensitive topics could be seen as protecting public safety or preventing harmful ideologies. This concern is primarily rooted in child safety, particularly age-appropriate ideas. But when you ban books, you’re limiting exposure to different perspectives and can hinder children’s critical thinking. This would make book bans useless for society; it’s doing more harm than good.

For instance, books that address racial inequality, gender, mental health, and the experiences of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) individuals are often targeted for bans. Moreover, these bans not only affect children in schools who don’t see themselves represented, but also it limits opportunities for empathy and understanding. For example, Jason Mott, the author of “Hell of a Book” stated,“I feel like the recent wave of book banning is a response to the events of the summer of 2020, marked by widespread protests and activism following the death of George Floyd. The demographic who was not a fan of 2020 reacted by banning books and trying to quiet the voices that suddenly got so loud. But banning books will not make racial complexities and the world’s complexities disappear; instead, it erodes compassion and understanding.”(Myall). Additionally, banning books about controversial topics ignores the fact that many young people face difficult issues in their daily lives. 

The opinions of marginalized individuals are often disregarded and silenced.

However, banning books often reflects attempts to control information and force it to be normalized. It can also be seen as seeking the power or influence of public opinion. This act of censorship can affect freedom, hinder people, and limit exposure to diverse perspectives. This is also seen in 1984: “nor was any item of news or any expression of opinion that conflicted with the needs of the moment ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean” (Orwell 40). In 1984, the party in Oceania not only censored history but also manipulated literature by controlling information and shaping public opinion. Moreover, the party altered and removed books to restrict access to different perspectives to prevent people from thinking critically and potentially rebel against the party. This parallels today’s book bans, where controversial and marginalized voices are often underrepresented, limiting exposure to diverse perspectives and hindering critical thinking skills in children.

Legal authorities often ban books because of their “controversial topics”, but controversial topics often involve issues that affect marginalized communities. When banning these books, you are underrepresenting voices and perspectives. Professor Durand from Arizona State University discusses this issues, stating,“Banning books about controversial issues is akin to keeping silent about the fact that many young people face difficult issues in their daily lives.” (Greguska). Initially, by banning these books, we are creating a culture of silence.

Some libraries are facing significant challenges. For example, as reported by The New York Times, “Some libraries have received bomb threats; others are at risk of having their funding slashed, or even face closure, over disputes about book removals. In some instances, librarians have been harassed and threatened.” (Harris, Alter). The manipulation of information and control over literature in 1984 mirrors the real-life threats faced by librarians today. In the book 1984, the party uses the change and  removal of books to restrict access to alternative viewpoints preventing potential rebellion against their rule. People in today’s society attempt to silence voices by pressuring libraries to remove specific books from their shelves. This parallel highlights the importance of the lack of freedom and attempts to censor and control information.

 Some may argue that banning books about controversial topics is necessary to protect individuals from harmful and offensive content. However, it’s important to remember that literature allows people to gain a deeper understanding of different perspectives and experiences. By banning books, we risk perpetuating ignorance and important conversations that can lead to positive change in our society especially for marginalized groups.


Works cited

Harris, Elizabeth A., and Alexandra Alter. “Book Bans Are Rising Sharply in Public Libraries.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Sept. 2023,

Greguska, Emma. “ASU Experts: Banning Books Is ‘Just Wrong.’” ASU Experts: Banning Books Is “just Wrong” | ASU News,

Facciolo, Samantha. “Meet the Teens Fighting Book Bans with Banned Book Clubs.” Reader’s Digest, Reader’s Digest, 3 Oct. 2023, 

Orwell, George. 1984. New York: Signet Classics, 1950.

Myall, J.D. “Defending Diverse Voices: Four Best-Selling Authors Talk Banned Books.” Ms. Magazine, 10 Oct. 2023, 


More to Discover