Within two weeks of its 1951 release, J.D. Salingers novel rocketed to No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. Ever since, the book which explores three days in the life of a troubled 16-year-old boy has been a favorite of censors since its publication, according to the American Library Association. In 1960, school administrators at a high school in Tulsa, Okla., fired an English teacher for assigning the book to an 11th-grade class. While the teacher later won his appeal, the book remained off the required reading list. Another community in Columbus, Ohio, deemed the book antiwhite and formed a delegation to have it banned from local schools. One library banned it for violating codes on excess vulgar language, sexual scenes, things concerning moral issues, excessive violence and anything dealing with the occult. When asked about the bans, Salinger once said, Some of my best friends are children. In fact, all my best friends are children. Its almost unbearable for me to realize that my book will be kept on a shelf out of their reach.
Why The Catcher in the Rye should be banned?
Salinger’s novel The Catcher In The Rye is dangerous because it contains vulgarity, violence, and sexual content ( Chandler ). … Although it is thought that high school students are mature enough to handle books with adult situations such as The Catcher in the Rye, people continue to ban or try to ban them.
What is the controversy with Catcher in the Rye?
One library banned it for violating codes on “excess vulgar language, sexual scenes, things concerning moral issues, excessive violence and anything dealing with the occult.” When asked about the bans, Salinger once said, “Some of my best friends are children. In fact, all my best friends are children.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is number two on the Radcliffe Publishing Course’s Top 100 novels of the 20th Century; however, it is also one of the most frequently banned, or censored, books of the century. Why would anyone want to ban such an important piece of literature?
Since then, more than 30 incidences have been recorded across the United States of the book being removed from schools and/or classes. Anti-white Blasphemous Centered around negative activity Deals with immoral issues and the occult Defamatory to God, the disabled, minorities, and women Depicts alcohol abuse, premarital sex, and prostitution Includes excessive violence and vulgar language Is obscene
Interestingly, the harder the book opponents have worked to ban The Catcher in the Rye , the more attractive it has become to readers. For example, in 1980 after Mark David Chapman shot ex-Beatle John Lennon outside of his New York apartment and in full view of Mr. Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, he nonchalantly looked through a copy of The Catcher in the Rye while waiting for police to arrive. Hinckley’s goal in attempting to kill him was to impress actress Jodie Foster.
When Rebecca Schaeffer, a television actress, was shot in the chest after opening the door of her Los Angeles apartment, her stalker, Robert John Bardo, was carrying with him a copy of the novel The Catcher in the Rye . No one would suggest that the book itself promotes or condones murder; however, it appears that those who are mentally unstable enough to commit these horrific crimes are drawn to Holden Caulfield’s unhinged character. Salinger is an important piece of 20th century literature that captures the timeless experience of teenagers; however, it’s also been at the top of the most frequently banned or censored book list for more than 60 years.
Since at least 387 B.C. censors have been trying to ban books that contain nontraditional or unpopular viewpoints. Books are banned because of the whole book in general or sometimes even for a single word 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 their work attacked by censors as well as contemporary writers such as Annie Dillard and Alice Walker. Even books like dictionaries, travel guides, and Bibles have been banned (If You Think We Were Free). Many people feel that J.D. Salingers novel The Catcher In The Rye is dangerous because it contains vulgarity, violence, and sexual content (
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 (Chandler).Holden has a very rough time throughout the
novel.He gets punched by a boy at school,
gets in a
fight with his roommate and gets a bloody nose because of it, and has
violent fantasies.Although there are
several instances of violence in the novel, it is barely at the level
Saturday morning cartoon (Chandler) On
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
Holdens 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 (Chandler).