Books have many purposes. They educate, they entertain and they can even brighten the lives they touch. Many books written throughout the ages have had significant impact on future generations. These books are written by great minds of the times that think beyond the accepted social norms.
Two well-known books, celebrated for very different reasons for years in the literary community, continue to face ignorance and adversity from supposedly well-meaning parents in 2014. These books have the potential to teach the masses, or at the very least open willing minds to consider topics and view situations from a direction other than that of social acceptance. With the ability to teach, it is very sad that these books have limited access in many climates and are among the banned books in 2014.
The two books, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, both address areas of society that people tend to prefer to overlook.
Huxley's vision of the future is a possibility if people become too complacent and willing to follow what is best for the masses. This future is filled with even-tempered and eerily similar individuals. Then comes a man who begins to question and fight against "the way things are." This leads to huge ripples in the "utopian" society.
Bernard Marx is the character in this book who does not find comfort and satisfaction in the widely accepted manner of living in a utopian society. Instead, he questions. While questioning, he visits a "Savage Reservation," where the old ways - aka feeling emotion and growing old - still exist. This leads Bernard to interact with "the Savage." The alternative style of living is too much for Bernard. Indeed, in the end, it proves to be too much for "the Savage" as well.
Meanwhile, Chbosky looks at the present methods of society from the viewpoint of a less socially accepted individual. This high school freshman sees things through intelligence and yet without the hue of social superiority. Charlie gives the reader the view from the sidelines for a considerable amount of time, before he braves the dance floor to experience things for himself. It does touch on some topics that cause discomfort for the reader.
Both of these books are wonderful additions to the literary offerings on any library or bookstore shelves. They are not a simple diversion from normal life. Instead, they push the envelope and force people to weigh uncomfortable topics or consider awkward situations. This takes them above an average work of fiction. At the same time, this quality of these books and countless more results in making people believe they should not be available at all. While sad and misguided, the voices that call for limited access and the potential harm that could result from such works speak louder than the rational beings that recognize the importance of these works to the growth and improvement of society as a whole.
This is how these books continue to grace the list of banned books in 2014. It also leaves little hope that enlightenment will occur across the board and help these works to become readily available to all in the years to come.