Banning books like ‘Maus’ makes people love them more

In January 2022, the McMinn County School Board in Tennessee voted to remove the graphic novel “Maus” from its eighth grade curriculum. Daily Arts Writers Emma Doettling and Hannah Carapellotti took two different approaches in their responses to this news: one shed light on how banning a book generates more interest in the title, while the other discussed the importance of what banned literature can teach us, despite its controversial labels.

Recent Tennessee book ban reignites interest in “Maus”

On Super Bowl Sunday, as we waited for the utterly empty restaurant to close, a conversation between my coworker and myself turned to banned books — yes, this is what we talk about at work. I had recently read in the news that “Maus,” a graphic novel by Art Spiegelman, was removed from the eighth grade school curriculum in McMinn County in eastern Tennessee. “Maus,” a novel commonly taught in middle and high school curricula, tells the story of a Holocaust survivor (based on the experiences of Spiegelman’s dad) through rendering Germans as cats and Jews as mice. McMinn County’s ban came after a unanimous vote by the school board, citing eight curse words, a nude drawing of a female mouse and the depictions of suicide as reasons for the ban.

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