Banned Books 2021 – Of Mice and Men

Marshall University does not ban books! The information is provided to let people know what has been banned/challenged elsewhere.

2021

Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students.

Administrators in the Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights (MN) have “paused” teaching two novels after community complaints about the books: Of Mice and Men was challenged for its use of the N-word, and Montana 1948 was challenged because of “concerns about the content . . . from our American Indian community.” In Montana 1948, the protagonist’s uncle sexually assaults, and later murders, the family’s Sioux housekeeper. These challenges against the use of racist language prompted the district to seek out and adopt protocols for challenging instructional materials.

After parent complaints about the use of racist epithets in To Kill a Mockingbird; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Cay; Of Mice and Men; and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, the Burbank (CA) Unified School District superintendent issued a statement removing the books from the district’s required reading lists for its English curriculum and banned the use of the N-word in all school classes. The books will be allowed in classroom libraries, but no student can be required to read them. At a board meeting, the superintendent stated, “This is not about censorship, this is about righting the wrongs of the past.”

2016

Recommended to be pulled from classroom instruction and made available only on a voluntary, small-group basis in 9th-grad English classes in Coeur d’Alene (ID). Its use of profanity – “bastard,” for instance, and “God damn” – makes the book unsuitable. in addition to the profanity, the curriculum committee found the story of two migrant ranch hands struggling during the Great Depression too “negative.” On June 1, 2015, the school board voted 4 to 1 to keep the novella as an option for English teachers to assign their classes, rather than demote it to voluntary, small-group discussion as recommended by a school district committee that is reviewing novels taught in the schools.

2015

Retained in the Brauberd (MN) School District curriculum despite the complaints of two parents who objected to the use of “Jesus Christ” as a curse word, the use of the n-word to describe African Americans, and the term “Japs.” They argued this type of language undermines the values of respect they try to instill in their children and the novel should be pulled from the curriculum. Parents and students who object to the language may choose an alternative book by the Nobel Prize-winning author.

2008

Challenged at the Newton (IA) High School because of concerns about profanity and the portrayal of Jesus Christ. Newton High School has required students to read the book since at leas the early 1980’s. Retained in the Olathe (KS) 9th-grade curriculum despite a parent calling the novel a “worthless, profanity-riddled book” which is “derogatory towards African Americans, women, and the developmentally disabled.”

2007

Retained in the Greencastle-Antrim (PA) tenth-grade English classes. A complaint was filed because of “racial slurs” and profanity used throughout the novel. The book had been used in the high school for more than thirty years, and those who object to its content have the option of reading an alternative reading.

2005

Challenged in the Normal (IL) Community High Schools because the book contains “racial slurs, profanity, violence and does not represent traditional values”. An alternative book, Steinbeck’s The Pearl was offered but rejected by the family challenging the novel. The committee then recommended The House on Mango Street and The Way to Rainy Mountain as alternatives.

2004

Challenged in the Normal (IL) Community High Schools because the book contains “racial slurs, profanity, violence and does not represent traditional values”.

2003

Challenged as required reading at Grandville (MI) high school for “racism, profanity and foul language”. Banned in George County (MS) schools for profanity.

2002

Banned for using offensive language, racism, violence, and being unsuited to age group

2001

Banned for using offensive language, racism, violence, and being unsuited to age group

On These Pages

A Banned book has been removed from a library, classroom, etc.
A Challenged book has been requested to be removed from a library, classroom, etc.

For additional information contact

Ron Titus, titus@marshall.edu
304-696-6575

Last updated

September 7, 2021