Students gain perspective on banned books

Mallory Kaul

“Huckleberry Finn,” “Of Mice and Men” and “The DaVinci Code” are all popular literature titles that have something in common—somewhere in the world they are banned for their content. 

Students gathered on Thursday to show these, among several other censored texts, some love. In an annual event hosted by the ULM English Department and Sigma Tau Delta, the Banned Book Reading takes place during National Banned Books Week and encourages students from all backgrounds to discuss the ethics of censorship in their home countries. 

Many students realized they had a banned book on their very own bookshelf and were able to share passages from them with the rest of the group. They discussed what areas they were banned from and the content they displayed that turned them to contraband.       One of the other featured titles included     

“The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie, who was recently stabbed at a convention for the beliefs expressed in his novel. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Sudan have all banned Rushdie’s book in recent years. This horrifying occurrence placed more emphasis than ever on the need to write and read freely.

“The Banned Books Reading is an affirmation of how powerful the written word is,” Patrick Morgan, an English professor at ULM who helped to organize the event, said. “Many students are interested to know that books they’ve read are banned.” 

Morgan shared that many articles suggest the reality that more books are being banned now than ever, as literature becomes more and more policed. 

Prajwol Pachhai, a computer science sophomore, agreed with Morgan’s sentiments and expressed how literature gives people an avenue to express themselves and that freedom should not be banned. 

“The only way you can stop people from reading is if they aren’t interested—you can never block people from reading what they want to read,” Pachhai said. 

Thalama Malla, an accounting sophomore in attendance shared her joy from attending the event. 

Malla said,  “I think it’s good to read banned books because you get to see things from a different perspective.”