The Catcher In The Rye Should Not Be Banned

862 words - 3 pages

The Catcher In the Rye Should Not be Banned




Since its publication in 1951, The Catcher In the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger has served as a conflagration for debate and extreme controversy. Although the novel has been the target of scornful criticism, it has also been the topic of wide discussion. The novel portrays the life of sixteen year old, Holden Caufield. Currently in psychiatric care, Holden recalls what happened to him last Christmas. At the beginning of his story, Holden is a student at Pencey Prep School. Having been expelled for failing four out of his five classes, Holden leaves school and spends 72-hours in New York City before returning home. There, Holden encounters new ideas, people, and experiences. Holden's psychological battle within himself serves as the tool that uncovers the coming-of-age novel's underlying themes of teen angst, depression, and the disingenuous nature of society. The novel tackles issues of blatant profanity, teenage sex, and other erratic behavior. Such issues have supplemented the controversial nature of the book and in turn, have sparked the question of whether or not this book should be banned. The novel, The Catcher In the Rye, should not be banned from inclusion in the literature courses taught at the high school level.


Banning a book on the basis of profanity is merely a superficial reason of those who wish to limit beliefs that do not coincide with their own. By excluding a novel from a high school curriculum in order to shelter students from profanity, is an attempt to do the impossible. Profanity is found everywhere. According to TV Guide, "Profanity is uttered once every six minutes on American primetime television," (TV). Students cannot escape uses of profanity. Students hear profanities on television, on radio, read them in magazines, and a majority use profanities themselves in casual conversation. Students also hear profanities in countless movies.


"Holden Caufield, the protagonist, swears steadily throughout the book. His curses are of the tamest kind, though, "damn", "hell", "crap", "ass", and he curses so self-consciously and so consistently that the words lose most of their vulgarity. Most of the cursing in the book would not even be rated PG-13 if it were in a movie," (Chandler).


The profanity used throughout the novel is at same level of the profanity often heard in a PG-13...

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