Books— The Catcher in the
at least 387 B.C. censors have been trying to ban books that contain
or unpopular viewpoints. Books are
banned because of the whole book in general or sometimes even for a
or because the cover seems to suggest an offensive subject matter. Censors not only try to ban “dirty books” but
they try to ban classics as well. Many
classic writers such as William Shakespeare and Mark Twain have had
attacked by censors as well as contemporary writers such as Annie
Alice Walker. Even books like
dictionaries, travel guides, and Bibles have been banned (“If You Think
We’re Free”). Many people feel that J.D.
Salinger’s novel The Catcher In The Rye is dangerous because it
vulgarity, violence, and sexual content (
Caulfield, the main character and narrator of The Catcher in the Rye,
a teenager growing up in the 1950’s in
it is thought that high school students are mature enough to handle
adult situations such as The Catcher in the Rye, people
continue to ban
or try to ban them. In 1960, a teacher
most recent attempt to ban The Catcher in the Rye occurred in
October, 2004. One parent, Cydney
The book is filled with profanity and obscenity. It shouldn’t be on campus, much less discussed on campus. We want students to use appropriate language. So why should they study inappropriate language? (Lowe)
She also said that she would prefer that “students read about a lifestyle that exemplified better morals and values” (Lowe).
Another incident that gave this book a bad reputation was John Lennon’s assassination. Lennon was asked to sign a copy of The Catcher in the Rye the morning by his murderer the morning of his assassination. Police found the copy of the novel in Chapman’s pocket after being found and accused of the murder. The book contains no evidence that it could possibly have had anything to do with leading Chapman to murder John Lennon, however, as a result that it was The Catcher in the Rye, a book describing a nervous breakdown, media thought deeply about the possible connections, giving the book yet another reason for people to arguer to ban the book (Banks).
many complaints made against The Catcher in the Rye. Many people feel that the book contains
inappropriate offensive language, sexual content, occultism, and
Books Project”). Vulgarity is one
complaint The Catcher in the Rye gets over and over again. Holden swears steadily throughout the book. The bad language is not the most vulgar
consisting of “damn”, “hell”, “crap”, and “ass”, and Holden curses so
self-consciously and consistently that the words lose a lot of their
meaning. The most reoccurring curse
words are “goddam” occurring over eighty nine times, “hell” occurring
sixty three times, and “damn” occurring over thirty nine times. Today, most of the cursing in the book would
not even be considered PG-13 if it were put in a movie.
The word “fuck” is seen three or four times
at the end of the book, however, Holden is as shocked as the reader by
and in the last few pages of the book is rubbing the word off or walls
various places wherever he finds it (
much vulgarity seems like a rather ridiculous excuse to ban a book. Swearing is not something new; on the
contrary, cursing can be traced back more than five centuries. What has changed, however, is society’s
tolerance of it, most noticeably in the last twenty years.
In March and April of 1999, researchers went
and violence are also charges against The Catcher in the Rye. However, it is very difficult to understand
where the occultism charge comes from.
“The only scene that even leans toward occultism is the scene
Holden speculates on whether Judas went to hell after betraying Jesus” (
content is one of the strongest charges against The Catcher in the
and there are several instances of it.
Holden lusts over women every chance he gets, he witnesses
behavior through his hotel window, he believes that his friend Jane was
as a child, and he believes that Mr. Antolini, one of his old
a sexual pass at him. Although there are
several clear instances of sexual content throughout the book, Holden
model of virtue remaining innocent from beginning to end.
Many people feel that “by high school,
readers should be able to read these non-graphic passages without harm”
sexual content is yet another absurd argument against The Catcher
in the Rye. Most adolescents begin
having intercourse in
their mid to late teens. Fifty six
percent of females and seventy three percent of males today have had
intercourse by the time they turned eighteen (“Sex and
a more positive note, many people do enjoy to work of J. D. Salinger
believe his work is a wonder book for students to read.
Chicago Tribune reviewer Paul Engle commented
that the story was “emotional without being sentimental, dramatic
melodramatic, and honest without simply being obscene” (3). He also said that “the authenticity of
Holden’s character, the idea that his voice was typical of a teenager,
childish or written down to that age level” (Lomazoff).
He also said that “the effort has been made
to make the text, told by the boy himself, as accurate and yet as
as possible. In this, it largely
succeeds” (3). In The Catcher in the
Rye, Salinger speaks in the language of a teenager.
“He validates their feelings of awkwardness
and mistrust of adults. He tells the
eternal truths of the teenagers” (
of books are being banned every year in libraries and schools all over
world. In the