Catcher In The Rye Censorship Essay

Banning The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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Did you ever think that books that have sex, obscene language, and immoral subjects can make a good book? The Catcher in the Rye has been on the banned reading list for exactly those reasons. The book was mainly put on disapproval from between 1966 and 1975 in almost every school district in the United States. The book was said to be so bad that in 1960 a teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was fired for assigning the book to an eleventh-grade English class. Despite some opposition to the novel, however, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye should be on a reading list for the freshman students because it gives a crystal clear image on how the world is in violence, sex, and obscenity and the book also teaches the motifs of lying and deception.
The world is not perfect, it is filled with violence, sex, obscenity, and immoral values. It is true, if you believe it or not the world is indeed filled with these bad traits of mankind. Holden Caulfield is no exception to having these traits. The following quote explains why: “‘You do? Why? No kidding, they better for sex and all?’ ‘Listen. Let’s get one thing straight. I refuse to answer any typical Caulfield questions tonight. When in the hell are you going to grow up?’ I didn’t say anything for a while. I let it drop for a while. Then old Luce ordered another Martini and told the bartender to make it a lot dryer”(Salinger 189). Parents are not protecting children better if they can not let the children face the truth on how awful the bad side of the world is. Sex and libations are common bad habits of the human race. If a parent does not allow a child to face those bad ideals, is the parent doing a kid a favor? No she or he is not. Eventually the child will find out sooner or later on those topics from a bad source of information. Not only is sex and drinking in the world, violence is also in it too. The book also has violent scenes, like as follows: “‘Now, shut up, Holden, God damn it- I’m warning ya,’ he said- I really had him going. ‘ if you don’t shut up, I’m gonna slam ya one.’ ‘Get your dirty stinking moron knees off my chest.’ ‘If I letcha up, will you keep your mouth shut?

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"Banning The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger." 13 Mar 2018

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D. Salinger         J.d. Salinger         Protecting Children         Bad Habits         School District         English Class         Human Race         Obscenity         Holden Caulfield        

’ I didn’t answer him. He said it again.’ Holden. If I letcha up, willya keep your mouth shut?’ ‘Yes.’ He got up off me, and I got up, too. My chest hurt like hell from his dirty knees. ‘ You’re a dirty stupid sonuva-bitch of a moron,’ I told him. That got him really mad. Next thing I knew I was on the god dam floor again. I don’t remember if he knocked me out or not, but I don’t think so. It’s pretty hard to knock a guy out, except in the god dam movies. But my nose was bleeding all over the place”(Salinger 58). Violence like this is common. It may not be the goriest fight in a book, but it certainly does give off a bad aura about the book. Even though most people would disagree, I think having violence in a book can show how awful violence is. Violence can sometimes lead to death. Most of the time a book can show all the wrong sides to violence and that person can become ,even a little, less violent.
The world is not only filled with bad traits like sex and drinking, but it also has wrong morals like lying, deception, and some sexual times . This book has many situations where the character is dealing or creating with lying. Just like Holden said in the following quote: “Her son was doubtless the biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey, in the whole crumby history of the school. He was always going down the corridor, after he’d had a shower, snapping his soggy old wet towel at people’s asses. That’s exactly the kind of guy he was. ‘ Oh, how nice!’ the lady said. But not corny. She was just nice and all. ‘I must tell Ernest we met,’ she said. ‘May I ask your name my dear?’ ‘Rudolf Schmidt,’ I told her. I didn’t feel like giving her my whole life history”(Salinger 71). Holden purposely lies to Ernest’s mother in this quote. Lying is never right to do no matter what the purpose is. In the real world, people lie from a day-to-day basis. Lying is not anything new to the world or the people in it. Parents and people who tried to ban it for that reason are not doing their children any favors. As well as having lying, the book also has sexual themes. Here is an example of deception form the book as follows: “She came in and took her coat off right away and sort of chucked it on the bed,. She had on a green dress underneath. Then she sort of sat down sideways on the chair that went with the desk in the room and started jiggling her foot up and down. She was very nervous, for a prostitute . She really was. I think it was because she was young as hell”( Salinger 123). I can understand why most people would try to ban the book because of this reason., but ,again, sexual themes are also something that is part of life. The book should not be banned because of sexual themes because ,even though sexual themes can have a bad impact on a persons life, it properly informs a person on how a sexual account can be like.
The book The Catcher in the Rye should not be banned because the content of the book gives an account of someone’s life that is put into reality. The reality of the book is the reality of the world and all of mankind’s imperfect features. By having these bad features of mankind in the book, the reader learns more of life from the point of view of an older individual.

The Catcher In the Rye Should Not be Banned Essay

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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,…show more content…

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 rated movie. A PG-13 movie is intended for audiences ages 13 and older. In a typical high school, the student body is over the age of 13. Therefore, since the vulgarity in The Catcher In the Rye is at the level suitable for teenagers 13 and older, using profanity as the basis of censorship and scrutiny is not applicable. Profanity is not a valid grounds to ban nor censor literature.


Banning books such as, The Catcher In the Rye infringes on the freedoms that America was founded upon. The Bill of Rights is one of the founding principles upon which America was established. The First Amendment clearly states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there of; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." (U.S. Constitution). Banning books undoubtedly contradicts the First Amendment.

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