Categorized | Student Work

A Grim Fate for Grimm’s Fairy Tales: Censorship Based on Age Groups

Sky, ’19 writes in defense of letting teens and kids choose for themselves what reading material they can handle.

We have all heard by now that the fairy tales we loved and knew growing up, are heavily edited versions of the originals. Even Wilhelm & Jacob Grimm, who published the most famous fairy tales, heavily edited the first edition of their stories. There was a recent survey {Source} that revealed that a lot of parents refuse to read most or some of the Grimm’s fairy tales to their children. We see a trend of this, of parents censoring books for their children, but how do we draw the line between what is acceptable for children to read and what is not acceptable for children to read, and should we be drawing the line at all?

Some people argue that some books should not be read by younger people because the complex themes in the narrative will not be appreciated or picked up on by younger audiences, not because of the content. There are also reading levels in some schools, where children are given a reading level based on a letter from A-Z  and not allowed to read below that letter, on the basis that the books would be too difficult for them to read. Is there a better way to seperate books by age group, and should they really be separated at all? It’s understandable that parents do not want their children to be exposed to older concept too young, but after a certain age is it still beneficial to not allow children or teenagers to not read certain books?

Parents are the biggest pusher of censorship of books and the banning of books in schools and libraries, {Source} but banning books limits people’s freedom to draw their own ideas from books. Literature can be very powerful,  and it is not necessarily a bad thing for children and teenagers to read books that challenge the ways they think about the world and what they know about the world. Do we really need to censor the violence and the gore out of the classics like the Grimm’s fairy tales, or the language out of Huckleberry Finn, because it might make a kid scared or worried? Even if teenagers or kids don’t understand or fully pick up on the themes of the book, shouldn’t they still be allowed to read them?

Reading facilitates new ideas and introduces new concepts, and teenagers and kids should be allowed to read books that appeal to them, regardless of the difficulty of the language or themes. Separating books by age groups and reading level, and censoring classics for younger audiences is not beneficial to anybody. It goes against the point of writing and reading; to be able to express, learn, and think about anything in any context or way. We need to stop separating books, and let kids and teenagers decide for themselves what is too upsetting, scary, or old for them to read.

By Sky Y. ’19


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