What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
21 views
21 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
58 views
58 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
98 views
98 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
85 views
85 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
114 views
114 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
153 views
153 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
116 views
116 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
253 views
253 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
196 views
196 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
208 views
208 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
238 views
238 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors
News
9 views
9 views

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018
732 Views

‘Dictator for life’ Xi Jinping bans book about dictatorship

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, now the Chinese ‘dictator for life’, has recently banned Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 as of February 2018. Some of the more unusual results of Xi Jinping’s bid to set himself up as ruler for life is the unlikely banning of the Letter N. The 14th letter of the English alphabet was another unsuspected victim in Jingping’s peculiar censoring of phrases, words and works of fiction under attack. Alongside these comical bans, the ongoing Chinese joke that Jinping resembles the fictional bear Winnie the Pooh has led to the censoring of images and memes comparing the two figures. The backlash at this decision was met with hostile and satirical social media posts, particularly with stills of Winnie the Pooh side by side with the President himself.

Whilst the news of Orwell’s banning hits headlines, it is by no means the first of its kind. A writer that inspired a catalogue of harrowing dystopian fiction, including Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale and Golding’s Lord of the Flies, as well as much of what makes up our literary canon today, it comes as no surprise that Orwell’s fiction has been placed under the microscope more than a few times. His novels, which were strongly influenced by the past and what this meant for the future, speaks to the complicated relationship between humanity and power. Things are never simply positioned in terms ‘black or white’, ‘good or bad’ in Animal Farm. In the narrative, what replaces the old aristocratic regime of Mr Jones is overturned by the animals themselves, as a response to the animal’s inequality to their human masters, they fight back with the slogan “all animals are equal”. Unfortunately, this change in power does not equate to social progress. Instead, the government is re-established through another authoritarian regime, this time under the communist leadership of Napoleon’s group of pigs, where “some animals are more equal than others”. Writing in the politically volatile year of 1943, Orwell found it difficult to publish Animal Farm in the UK primarily due to fears of weakening the relationship with Britain’s ally in the USSR during the Second World War.

Orwell’s second book 1984 is blunter than Animal Farm; gone are the absurd and docile images of a rural farm, its place now taken by human beings and an extreme version of CCTV. The infamous phrase ‘Big Brother is watching you’ has never rung truer than today, especially after President Xi’s order to put 1984 down the memory hole. 1984, one of the top 10 most censored books to date, has confusingly been banned for complete opposite reasons at different points in time. It was first banned and burnt in communist Russia under Stalin’s rule, and brought a whole new meaning to rebellious reading. Its later history in the United States is both ironic and fitting. Despite 1984 being banned in the countries, it specifically targeted, during the 1960s Cold War period, the UK and the USA nearly banned the book for being ‘pro-communist.’ This just goes to show the ways in which the book can be read and misread.

However, this trend follows more than the works of George Orwell. Across the Atlantic, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was not always seen as one of the greatest American Novels. Weeks after the satire was published in 1885, the book was rejected by librarians in Concord, Massachusetts on the grounds for it being “rough, coarse and inelegant” and “more suited to the slums than to intelligent, respectable people.” The debate over Twain’s novel was sparked by two major issues, firstly due to the incoherent language and secondly on socio-political grounds. Huck, Jim and Finn and many of the other characters in the novel speak in regional dialect of the south, making it historically representative. The more antagonist voice claims that the derogatory tone of the book towards Southern African American characters is racist. However, despite these claims, what these critics may have failed to see is that it’s intentionally racist – it’s about racism itself. Like with Orwell’s novels, Twain’s writing (whether intentional or not) invites modern readers to assess history through an undistorted, yet nevertheless disturbing lens, seeing as it is, rather than how we may have desired it to be. Viewing the novel in this way, we see that we cannot erase history or its significance.

James Joyce’s Ulysses was another acclaimed fiction once regarded as too radical to read. It saw British and American governments ban, burn and confiscate this ‘dangerous book’, whilst now it’s considered to be a Modernist masterpiece. One consistent trend ensues– in the form of an out-dated idea that with thought-provoking books, reading becomes a weapon. Ironically, similarities can be drawn between the censoring of these ‘provocative’ books and Orwell’s anticipation of the ‘thought-police’.

Unsurprisingly, historically the US and UK alongside the Vatican and just about any other country under the sun are no strangers to the rituals of book banning –just refer to it as part of the rich tapestry of history. While book banning is still apart of everyday life in some countries, the situation is not all bleak. The ABFE (American Book sellers for Free expression) as well as other non-profit organisations aim to challenge book banning in public libraries and schools. Works such as The Kite Runner, Toni Morrison’s prized novel Beloved and The Miseducation of Cameron Post have all been at points in history censored or criticised, only to find resurgence through the ABFE.

Orwell’s works are still held up as some of the most politically clever and controversial fictions to date. Although over 70 years old, they are still as relevant today as they were at their inception. They are timeless in their ideas, with Animal Farm bonding the ridiculous world of farm animals to that of a political state, and with 1984’s prescience concerning freedom of thought and expression. These works continue to ask us to look beyond what we think is right and normal. We can only hope Orwell’s ominous prediction, that ‘if you want an image of the future, imagine a boot stamping on the human face: forever.’, does not follow.

Featured Image: Geograph, Ireland

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
21 views
21 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
58 views
58 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
98 views
98 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
85 views
85 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
114 views
114 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
153 views
153 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
116 views
116 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
253 views
253 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
196 views
196 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
208 views
208 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
238 views
238 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors
News
9 views
9 views

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018
NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’
News
6 views
6 views

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’

kenyon55 - October 17, 2018
Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter
Campus News
9 views
9 views

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
21 views
Arts
21 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018

  All you need to know about autumn at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts If you have not seen the ACCA’s new autumn programme, you…

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
58 views
Arts
58 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018

In celebration of Black History Month, Sussex Student Union organised a number of interesting talks and events across October. One of these exciting opportunities was a chance…

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA
Film & Theatre
54 views
Film & Theatre
54 views

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA

Anonymous - October 10, 2018

At the outset, Mr Messier’s FIELD at once invoked The Matrix and Daedalus’ Boiler Room set.  The basic concept of this mixed media performance relies on transducer…

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development
Arts
84 views
Arts
84 views

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development

Kate Dennett - October 10, 2018

To commemorate to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I found it increasingly difficult to draw attention to just one book of relevance in recognition of this…

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective
Campus News
80 views
Campus News
80 views

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective

Chris Ahjem - October 9, 2018

Annually, the University of Sussex welcomes thousands of new students to our Falmer campus and every year the Student’s Union and Brighton based clubs and businesses increase…

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known
News
117 views
News
117 views

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known

Chris Ahjem - October 6, 2018

To celebrate National Badger Day here are 10 fun facts about our animal kingdom namesake Badgers can run up to 16-19 miles per hour which is the…

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
98 views
Arts
98 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018

This coming week marks the celebration of Libraries Week, an event solely dedicated to praising the work of libraries across the UK. This annual event is taking…

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
85 views
Interview
85 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018

The young star is often a tricky title to navigate. There are the big names, who explode into the world with noise, bright light, a big record…

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Lifestyle
117 views
Lifestyle
117 views

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
114 views
Lifestyle
114 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
153 views
Arts
153 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
116 views
News
116 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
253 views
Arts
253 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
186 views
Film & Theatre
186 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
196 views
Sports
196 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
208 views
Arts
208 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
238 views
Arts
238 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1296 views1
Campus News
1296 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors
News
9 views
News
9 views

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

The court of appeal has quashed sentences handed to 3 fracking protestors calling them "manifestly excessive". Jail sentences of 15- 16 months were given to the three…

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit
News
12 views
News
12 views

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

Veteran human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, gave a talk on campus. Known for his work with the LGBTQ+ community, he spoke about free speech under attack and…

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’
News
6 views
News
6 views

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’

kenyon55 - October 17, 2018

The NUS has expressed its support for a national referendum on the final Brexit deal, also referred to as a ‘People’s Vote’. This came after Labour MPs…

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter
Campus News
9 views
Campus News
9 views

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

An open letter started by Sussex academics has gained over 1,000 signatures. The letter, entitled ‘Open letter from UK academics: The harsh sentencing of anti-fracking campaigners sets…

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes
National News
24 views
National News
24 views

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

Written by Danielle Ball Shocking witness statements have been heard from the fire crew and call handlers involved in the response to the tragedy The Grenfell Tower…

Renting Unaffordable for Young People
National News
19 views
National News
19 views

Renting Unaffordable for Young People

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

South East among the most expensive areas to rent as revealed by BBC research. Research carried out by The BBC has found that renting is unaffordable for…

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
44 views
Music
44 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Photo by Vojta Dvrocek Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger…

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur
Arts
57 views
Arts
57 views

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur

Olek Młyński - October 11, 2018

The newest film from the notorious Gaspar Noé was so critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival that the director himself could not believe it. Climax opens…

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100
Music
93 views
Music
93 views

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100

Ryan Bridgewater - October 5, 2018

Released 28th September Available on: CD/Vinyl/Download   The anticipation couldn’t have been greater when the final instalment in London nightclub Fabric’s legendary DJ mix series was announced…

News
72 views

Maniac: a madcap adventure into troubled minds

Olek Młyński - October 5, 2018

With the release of Maniac, Netflix once again proves itself as an artistic powerhouse. This mini-series is a whirlwind of creativity containing often confusing, madcap ideas. But,…

Nike cash in on Kaepernick campaign
Sports
73 views
Sports
73 views

Nike cash in on Kaepernick campaign

James Cohen - October 4, 2018

In 1988 Nike premiered their, now infamous, “Just Do It” campaign, showing 80-year-old Walt Stack jogging across the Golden Gate Bridge. 30 years and a lot of…

Machine Learning for an Efficient Future
Science
115 views
Science
115 views

Machine Learning for an Efficient Future

ecrm20 - October 4, 2018

My project is about how we can explain the predictions made by machine learning algorithms. For example, if we have an algorithm that tells us whether an…