In the history of humanity, violence in fairy tales or children’s books is not a recent phenomenon, these dates back from the first stories for children when violence was used in the narrative as a didactic element, where the wicked were punished often with physical violence and the virtuous were rewarded (Creasey). For centuries, the violence has played an important role in children’s literature, but in recent decades, this issue has been questioned with great vigor (Creasey).
This is evident in the recent decisions by some modern writers who have changed the gruesome parts of the classic stories to make them more acceptable to modern readers (Creasey). But can people ask that a higher quality children’s literature could be achieved if writers omit violence in it? (Creasey) The violent behavior of children will disappear if the writers reduce violent themes in children’s literature? (Creasey) For some scholars, if violence is used properly, it should have a place in children’s literature (Creasey).
In addition, if it is presented with high quality it can create a positive influence on the lives of children (Creasey). Some violent situations portrayed in children’s stories can be used to teach children to avoid violent resolutions in their own lives (Creasey). Involve situations, violence in children’s literature, can contribute in preparing children to live in a world whose territory is not free from problems and vicissitudes (Creasey). It is important to note that by nature children are naturally attracted to stories with violent content (Creasey).
For all these reasons stated above, it is not easy to think whether or onitor the content of the violent or offensive material in children’s literature because it should consider who would be the entity responsible for deciding whether the content is violent or offensive (Gross). Censorship is not an easy task and not subjective since it will depend on the judgment of a person or groups of people who would have the task of monitoring and deciding on this content (Gross). This judgment will depend on the cultural, religious, and level education background that the individual has (Gross).
Many stories in children’s literature which have violent content or offensive nature should not be censored by external or third entities, but it would be only monitored by parents (Creasev). The parents are who must share these kinds of stories that show violence often has unpleasant consequences for the offender or the victim, and in this way children will be less likely to use the violence as a resolution when the conflict appears in their own lives (Creasey). The parents are who must make the decision if a certain book brings together the moral characteristics that justify the use of violence (Creasey).
Violence is a relevant and valuable subject of children’s literature because children should be aware of the realities of the world whether good or bad (Creasey). Parents should carefully evaluate the material to determine that violence is contained therein responds to a positive purpose (Creasey). The limitations through censorship could lead to a limitation of access to information by the child, regardless of whether it is the violent or offensive type (u. arizona. edu). Censorship prevents that children cannot see or discuss certain information to give them the necessary knowledge for understanding the life situations (u. rizona. edu). Limit a child to have access to such information could minimize their comprehension and understanding of their social environment (u. arizona. edu).
The issue of censorship in children’s literature continues to generate debate from the different factions who believe they have in their having the power to decide which is best for children (encyclopedia. com). The personal convictions make censorship becomes a tool where ignorance and lack of preconceptions leave children vulnerable to external influences (encyclopedia. com). Often censorship is supported on the idea hat children should be protected from the bad influence of violent or offensive content (encyclopedia. com). For many people, censorship in children’s books should be seen only from the point of view of the law or other authority figure that has the credit or the ability to discuss and decide what content is objectionable or not (u. arizona. edu).
On the other hand, educators are convinced that censorship about violent or offensive content in children’s literature could limit to provide children with a solid knowledge base that would allow them to understand the problems related to society or culture (u. rizona. edu). Besides, minimize their necessary skills of learning to overcome obstacles in real life (u. arizona. edu). An example of censorship in children’s literature has been on the stories written by the Grimm’s brothers. During the 19th century, much of parents, teachers, and religious figures deplored these stories to have a rough and uncivilized content (O’Neill). It stated that these stories reflect the vision of a medieval world with prejudice, rudeness, and barbarity (O’Neill).
They could terrorize or negatively influence the behavior of children (O’Neill). But this view changes during the 20th century, when the parents have the initiative, that their children could read these stories because these were transmitting its messages to children that they should keep their promises, do not talk to strangers, work hard for something they want, and obey their parents (O’Neill). According to the view of parents, the collection of stories by the Grimm’s brothers is considered as a manual of manners (O’Neill).
For example, in the case of the Little Red Riding Hood can be seen during the scene which the little girl will be eaten by the big bad wolf that she manages to run to the door and screaming for help (sites. google. com). Although the scene is a violent nature, it gives a message to children that if ever they are in a bad situation, it is recommended to seek help as soon as possible (sites. google. com). Throughout the story of the Little Red Riding Hood she is always under the threat of the big bad wolf and for his reason, the story was questioned by those who believe that this issue threatens the tranquility of children (sites. google. com).
But this story reflects the character of a kind and caring girl who is willing to take food to her sick grandmother even when there is a latent danger (sites. google. com). These features show the character of Little Red Riding Hood and also teach children about how they should respect their family and they also can be kind and loving (sites. google. com). Also, another example comes from the books of the Grimm’s brothers and this is the story of Hansel and Gretel (Mitchell).
Specifically, in the segment where described how Hansel is thinking logically how to use the stones to find the way back home and Gretel is thought to push the witch into the oven to save her brother (Mitchell). Even though censorship, believes in the theory that such examples are of a violent nature and that can generate a negative education in children (Mitchell). On the contrary, it has led creative responses from children because they have manifested and strengthened their skills to solve the problems offered in this story (Mitchell).
Violence is an important factor in the child’s growth and this aspect has endured for centuries until today (Creasey). If violence is used effectively and carefully it can serve for important purposes in children’s literature (Creasey). Since awakens the child’s interest in reading and helps to improve their understanding of violence in a conflict that can arise in their own life (Creasey).
Censorship eliminates the need for trial and in many cases helps to increase in children the level of disconnect with reality (Gross). Acceptance of the content in children’s literature should be comprehensive, including issues of violence (encyclopedia. om). It seems to stem from the belief that children should learn as soon as possible about the realities of the world that they live, even those that are harder and unpleasant (encyclopedia. com). There is a widespread belief among critics and academics that censorship limits the potential of a child for intellectual growth (encyclopedia. com).
In addition, this only provides poor and imperfect protection to expose young readers to some of the morally ambiguous world’s social problems (encyclopedia. com). Helping children grow implies the need to tolerate the variations in the material of children’s literature (encyclopedia. om). Monitor violence material in children’s literature should only be the responsibility of parents when choosing or help the child to choose the book or story that they want to read. “Tolerance is essential in our society, particularly tolerance in recognizing the right of others, especially minors, to make their own decisions about what they will read and their right to have access to a wide range of informational and recreational reading materials to accommodate the diverse interests and needs of youth” (encyclopedia. com).