Written in 1850 by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter is a classic American novel set in Puritan society. Today, it is banned in several school districts and libraries due to complaints about its content.
The most common reason why The Scarlet Letter is banned is because it contains themes of adultery and sin. In the book, the protagonist Hester Prynne is publicly humiliated for having an affair with someone other than her husband. It also deals with issues such as shame and guilt that some parents don’t want their children exposed to.
Another reason why this book is banned from curriculums and libraries is that it contains inappropriate language, particularly when referencing religion or God. These references are often seen as blasphemous by those who follow strict religious values, making them uncomfortable with the contents of the book. Additionally, many people find the use of certain words such as “hell” and “damn” offensive and believe they should not be included in educational material.
The setting of the book—Puritan society—is also controversial for some readers who do not agree with this lifestyle or its views on religion, morality and social hierarchy. For these individuals, reading about such a lifestyle can be triggering or uncomfortable. As a result, some people have taken issue with schools including The Scarlet Letter in their curriculums or libraries stocking it for young readers to access.