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The Catcher in the Rye - Essay Example

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Whether the Catcher in the Rye should be banned? The Catcher in the Rye, written by J. D. Salinger, is set for the period of 1950s, and the protagonist of the novel is Holden Caulfield. The story he narrates is about events occurring between the end of fall term in school and Christmas…
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The Catcher in the Rye
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"The Catcher in the Rye"

Download file to see previous pages Antolini. Holden alluded about being in a mental hospital. The whole novel revolves around rebellion, alienation and aggression in youth. This is why this book has been one of the most challenged books in all times. This paper discusses opposing ideas on whether the Catcher in the Rye should be banned in schools. Critics state that the narration includes offensive style, inappropriate language and sexual content at many places (Whitfield 1997). Despite the fact that the sexual content is not very explicit, still parents and critics support the fact that the book should be banned. The writer shows Holden thinking, talking and imagining about sex. These imaginations are a part of typical physical development of a teenager; still, it is inappropriate to teach such concepts in schools and relating them with such a sensitive phase as teenage so explicitly. Graham (2007: xi) states that “the novel was condemned by some readers for its use of expletives and for presenting as a hero an adolescent who drinks, smokes and engages a prostitute”, and parents think that children should not be taught that such concepts are an integral part of teenage. The sexual content accompanies obscene and offensive language. Again, despite the fact that the obscene language is very moderate, still parents would never want that their children should be taught such literature in school which contains even hints of such language. According to Jones (2007), “There are 224 instances where obscene language has been used in the book, with a few occurrences being the "F-word."” To mention some scholars, Agee (1999) and Frangedis (1988) also talked about how objections from teachers, parents and administrators came regarding “language or sexual content” (Agee 1999: 61) in the book. Another reason that makes us say that The Catcher in the Rye should be banned is that it contains occurrences where mild violence is shown. For example, Holden is shown being punched and attacked a couple of times. There are two indications of suicidal attempts as well. At one occurrence, Holden is shown overhearing somebody who was talking about a person trying to commit suicide through taking aspirin. At another place, Holden is shown talking about a boy who had jumped out of the window as suicidal attempt. John Lennon’s assassination was an incident that further gave this book a bad reputation (Rosenthal 1999). His murderer, Chapman, had asked him to sign a copy of the novel on the morning when he was assassinated. When the police caught Chapman and accused him of the murder, a copy of the novel was found in his pocket. Although there was no clear evidence that it was the novel that had inspired Chapman to commit the crime, yet the implicit connection was enough to make people argue about banning the book. Parents and teachers have always been concerned and looking for answers regarding what effects violence in literature can imprint on young developing brains. The Catcher in the Rye arrives with concerns relating to anxiety, dejection, brutality and aggression that develop in young minds. Critics are of the view that children tend to have less-developed ability of decision-making or critical thinking so they cannot realize what is wrong with what they are reading and their minds learn or absorb every act they read. Now, we look at the opposing ideas and see why some people think that the novel should not be banned. Banning a book means banning freedom of expression. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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