Persuasive Essay: Catcher in the Rye

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To those whom it may concern, The recent debate on the banning of the popular book, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, from a public school is nothing new in the literary world. J.D. Salinger’s novel is the second most challenged book in history (Doyle) because of its crude language, sexual references, and questionable content. In reality, Holden is a character to be respected for his rash views on the world and the political madness of it all. Holden may not always have the most moral ideas, granted he’s a teenage boy and their thoughts are never the most moral and innocent. The wish to keep your child’s innocence protected by shielding her from such literature is understandable, though it’s equally important to remember the reality of the situation, and that the elimination of the questionable scenes would have taken the importance from the book. The Catcher in the Rye is a lesson within itself of morality and the teenagers of America, and should continue to be taught in the Ferndale School District. Fitting into society is hard these days, and with the high expectations and the need to conform, many of today’s youth are like Holden in their wish to be their own person, but unable find happiness in their culture with the constant criticisms for their choices and personality. Holden is “the first image of middle class youth growing up absurd” according to John Hayden in his book Reunion. In other words, Holden has captured the spirit of thousands of Americans suppressed by the confines of conformity. Every school has its “lonely crowd of imitation Holdens” (Reisman), especially Ferndale. In the Halls of Ferndale High school roam students very much like Holden: the losers or future drop outs that represent Holden’s hatred of institutional confines; the wacky dressers who don clothing relative to Holden’s red hunting hat in expressing their own emotions; the wanna-bes who just wish to fit in like Holden but fail; the loner group who take in the unsociable


Cited: Doyle, R. (n.d.). American Literature Association. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from ALA.com: ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged.html Edwards, J. (n.d.). Censorship in the Schools: What 's Moral about The Catcher in the Rye. English Journal , p. 42. Reisman, D. (1953). Salinger: A Portrait. Garden City: DoubleDay Anchor. Salinger, J. (1945). Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Bantam Books. Whitfeild, S. J. (1997, December). Cherished and Cursed: Toward a Social History of The Catcher in the Rye. New England Quarterly , pp. 567-600.

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