October 24, 2010
The Catcher in the Rye – Book of Controversy
Books in general should not be banned because censorship is in contradiction with the freedom of speech. Authors should feel free to write about theme which they are interested in and not to be worried about possible ban of their piece. Critics should understand that it is very difficult to write a book which is going to be liked by every single human being whereas every person likes something different. Because of those reasons I do not support banning of the books; especially one of my favorite, The Catcher in the Rye. This story written by J.D. Salinger in 1951 has been frequently challenged by parents, churches and American society because it involves vulgar language and sexual content. Although a lot of people in history have accepted censorship of this book, I argue that The Cather in the Rye should not be banned because it can help adolescents find the perspective which they are lack and also it shows how the real life is. Ban of a book like this means keeping young people isolated from the real world. The people can be curious, how a book which involves profane language and sexual material, can be helpful for a young man. This is what I am going to clarify in the next couple of sentences. All of the adolescents have gone through a “weird” period in their life, getting from the teen age to the age of the adult. In many cases it is that the teenager is struggling, confused, does not know what to do, and cannot find his right place. Exactly like the main person of Catcher, Holden Caulfield who is a 16 years old boy dropped out from the private high school, Pencey Prep. He “appears to search someone or something in which to believe, Balis 2
but finds that his generally pessimistic view of human nature and human values is reinforced rather than refuted” (Sove 85). Holden sees whole American society very pessimistic, he does not like anybody except his younger sister Phoebe, who is the only person Holden, loves and trusts. One day Holden decides to leave New York because he is sick from the wicked American society and wants to go somewhere to the West – live at the cottage near a forest, far away from the people. But he changes his mind because Phoebe packs her suitcase and insists that she will go with her older brother. At the end, Holden stays at home and predicts that he will return to school soon. Only reason why he decides to stay and go back to the school is that he loves his sister Phoebe and wants to stay with her. The main point is that although we are unhappy, pessimistic and just want to finish with everything, there is still a good reason to continue. Next example shows how a young man who was struggling as a teenager realized that The Cather in The Rye can be really helpful.
I only know that something was wrong in my world of the adolescent – coming – age, and I had no language for it. My inner language was dealing with conflicts, despair, and dissatisfaction in the world as I knew. Later, after reading Holden’s story I realized that it was certainly story I was prepared to experience (Blei 162).
Nevertheless, not everyone see The Catcher in the Rye as a great deal which can be helpful. A lot of parents have argued that this book should be banned because it involves profane language and sexual content. Case from 70’s states example when parents tried to ban Catcher because of its language, “In 1975 at high school in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania the novel Catcher in the Rye was removed from the suggested reading list for literature
course based on parent’s objections to the language of the book” (Sova 86). Two years later another case happened, but this time parents tried to ban Salinger’s book because of its sexual content, “In 1977, parents in Pittsgrove Township, New Jersey, challenged the assignment of the novel Catcher in the Rye in an American literature class. They...
Cited: Steinle, H. P. (2000). In Cold Fear: The Catcher in the Rye Censorship Controversies and Postwar American Character. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.
Simonson, P. H., & Hager, E. P. (Eds.). (1963). Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye”: Clamor vs. Criticism. Boston, MA: D.C. Heath and Company.
Blei, N. (2001). Censored Books: Critical Viewpoints. Karolides, J. N., & Burress, L., & Kean, M. K., (Eds.). Lanham, MY: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
Sova, B. D. (2006). Banned Books: Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds, Revised Edition. New York, NY: Facts On File, Inc.
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