Grimms, Lawrence and Blume

Grimms, Lawrence and Blume. All of the stories in this unit present a challenge to the dominant cultures’ view of sexuality. More often than not censorship based on sex and gender is rooted in Conservative religious ideology. The banning and censorship of all of them are anchored in religious ideology that preaches conservative gender roles and traditional family structures.  As you read in the secondary sources, most challenges and censorship of books based on sexuality or gender are often justified as being a corrupting influence on children. Children are supposed to be innocent and ignorant of sexual knowledge and must be kept so.


children are often used as the excuse for censorship of books because of sexual content. Even Mill excluded children in On Liberty saying “It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to say that this doctrine is meant to apply only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties. We are not speaking of children, or of young persons below the age which the law may fix as that of manhood or womanhood. Those who are still in a state to require being taken care of by others, must be protected against their own actions as well as against external injury. For the same reason, we may leave out of consideration those backward states of society in which the race itself may be considered as in its nonage.” Children need protection. Sex is “dangerous” knowledge because the bible says so in the story of Adam and Eve.  Many believe that literature like this teaches children about these ideas, where in fact, the texts simply validate what children already know.


The government, religious institutions and parents don’t want to talk about sex because it is “inappropriate”. But they do talk about it in order to control people’s actions and thoughts as they do so many aspects of people’s lives.


Stories in this unit, exhibit women in a position of power, who use the power of their sexuality or overcome an oppressive sexist situation, or just to free themselves and learn about themselves. They were banned because they reject the strict conservative view of sexuality and femininity.


FIRST: Introduce each writer and story and explain what is the gist of it? Choose a quote from each text that you think got the writer’s in “trouble”.


SECOND: provide a summary of the main points of contention that got the book banned. The summary should be at least five sentences. Include quotes. In quotation marks and IN_TEXT Citations


THIRD: Think back to the ideas about censorship you learned about in the Stage 1 unit as an abuse of the power the dominant culture has over an individual. Think of the Harm Principle when it comes to sexual content. How these ideas help you engage with the banning of this text and writer?





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“Rapunzel” by the Grimm Brothers

This link has two versions: the original 1812 version on the left and the cleaned up 1857 version on the right


Obscenity Laws Of The 18th And 19th Centuries


“Censorship in Folklore: Tales Not Fit to Print” by D.L Ashliman



“7 Parts Of ‘Rapunzel’ That Were Really Messed Up” by JR Thorpe





Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Attached Files:

File lady-chatterlys-lover.pdf (1.445 MB)

Read Chapters 1 & 3


Obscenity Laws Of The 18th And 19th Centuries




“‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ was banned 90 years ago. Now we’re — yawn — bored by obscenity.” by Ron Charles–yawn–bored-by-obscenity/2019/12/16/dcf6bc86-1f79-11ea-86f3-3b5019d451db_story.html



“Remembering D.H. Lawrence in the Season of Banned Books” by Shreya Sen-Handley



John Waters reads from Lady Chatterley’s Lover at City Lights Books





Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret (online book)

Read Chapter 1 & 2




This is an article from Dec. 20, 1981 responding to the wave of censorship that was occurring at the time



Judy Blume “Places I Never Meant to Be”

Attached Files:

File Introduction to Places I Never Meant To Be.docx (15.433 KB)

Judy Blume is one of the most banned writers in the history of censorship. Her most famous book Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret has been on the ALA list of most challenged books every year since its publication.