The Reason Behind the Censorship of Salinger's Catcher In The Rye

840 Words4 Pages
The Reason Behind the Censorship of Salinger's Catcher In The Rye Many charges have been made against J.D Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in attempts to censor the book. Most of these charges are used as a smoke-screen for the real reason this book is considered "dangerous". There have been several attempts to have Salinger's novel removed from High School libraries and reading lists. The most notable instances are: 1978 -- it was removed from an optional reading list at a High School in Issaquah, Wa. 1979 -- it was removed from a required reading list at a High School in Middleville, Mich. 1980 -- it was removed from the libraries in the Jackson-Milton School District in North Jackson, Ohio. 1982 -- it was removed from the school libraries in Anniston, Ala. 1983 -- it was challenged, but not removed, from the school library at Libby High School in Libby, Mon. 1985 -- it was banned from Freeport High School in DeFuniak Springs, Fla. In these cases, parents protesting against the book have called it "dangerous" because of vulgarity, occultism, violence and sexual content. A quick look at the book shows the emptiness of these charges. It does however give insight into why a certain type of parent would object to this book. Vulgarity. 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. The word "fuck" appears three or four times at the end of the book (201-204). Holden is as shocked by the word as the reader and he spends the ... ... middle of paper ... ...ubversion of power that is constantly expressed in this book that people want to suppress. Holden Caufield is the child trying desperately not to grow up into a "phony". He feels alone because the only people he sees in the world are phonies and children. Struggling for an adult role for himself he invents the "Catcher in the Rye", always saving children from the consequences of their mistakes. It is ironic that Caufield's ambition is probably shared with some of the people that have tried to censor this book. Holden gives people with this ambition a very wise piece of advice: If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the "Fuck You" signs in the world. It's impossible (202). Works Cited Salinger, J.D. The Catcher In The Rye, (Little, Brown/ NY) 1951. Bulletin 43 over Censored Books. http://home.nvg.org/~aga/bulletin43.html

More about The Reason Behind the Censorship of Salinger's Catcher In The Rye

Open Document