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Throughout history there have been several occasions where the American public objected to books that they think are unsuitable for the younger audience or offend a race or religion (Gray). Book banning is the most common form of censorship in the United States (Webb). A book could get banned if a parent, library user, or a member of a religious group files a complaint about the book to a school or library. There are many reasons why a book could get banned.
For example a book could get banned for containing graphic violence, express disrespect for parents and family, is sexually explicit, exalts evil, lacks literary merit, is unsuitable for a particular age group, or includes offensive language (Webb). One of the most popular books that have been banned or challenged the most is The Catcher in the Rye. This novel has been banned and challenged at countless schools for numerous reasons (Banned Library).
The Catcher in the Rye is written by J.
D. Salinger and tells a story about a sixteen year old boy named Holden Caulfeild who gets kicked out of his prestigious boarding school. Holden was not forced to leave the boarding school right away, but after an altercation with his roommate he decided he would go back to his hometown, Manhattan, three days early. While Holden was on the train ride back to New York he ran into the mother of one of his boarding school classmates. He told the woman lies about how shy her son was, but truthfully Holden thought he was a bastard.
After arriving in Manhattan Holden checked himself into a hotel because he decided not to tell his parents that he had been kicked out of school. Holden chose to spend his time at the hotel bar attempting to flirt with women in their thirties. After they made some jokes about his age they left. He then went to a jazz club where he ran into one of his brothers ex girlfriends. After that Holden went back to the hotel and got a hooker from the elevator operator. After he decided he was not going to have sex with the hooker the elevator operator punched him in the stomach and took five dollars out of his wallet. The next day Holden arranged to meet with a girl whom he dated in the past. He took her to a broadway play and went ice skating with her. The girl left him after he called her a “pain in the ass”. Holden then calls an old friend and scheduled to meet up and have some drinks with him at a bar. After they had a few drinks his friend grew irritated and left because of Holden’s remarks about his chinese girlfriend. Holden stayed at the bar and got drunk while listening to the piano being played at the bar. Holden decided to sneak back into his house to talk to his sister. He told her about him getting kicked out of school and his fantasy of being “the catcher in the rye”. The next day Holden sent his sister a note telling her that he is planning on leaving home for good and that she should meet him at the museum to see him for the last time. Holden ended up changing his mind about leaving home after he bought his sister a ticket for a carousel ride and realized how happy it made him to see her ride the carousel. The book ended with Holden telling the reader that he “plans to go to a new school in the fall and is cautiously optimistic about his future” (SparkNotes).
Within the time span of 1960 to 2010 The Catcher in the Rye has been challenged over thirty five times by different school districts. For example, in 1975 a school in Pennsylvania removed the book from reading list after the school received several complaints from parents about the books’ content and language. However the book was later reinstated after the school board took a vote. In 1982 a Canadian school located in Manitoba, Canada removed The Catcher in the Rye from the school libraries. The school’s reasoning for removing the book was the violation of the school’s community guidelines. In 1989 the Muroc Joint Unified School removed the book after receiving complaints from parents and religious activists. The parents stated that the novel was not suitable for a school environment because of profanity, blasphemy, and promotion of anti-family values. One of the religious activists, Patty Salazar, said she supports the school boards decision of removing the book because it uses the Lord’s name in vain two hundred times (Banned Library).
The Catcher in the Rye has caused intriguing conversations on whether or not the book belongs on the shelves in high schools. “The novel deals with issues such as profanity, irrational behavior, and teenage sex and has very vital and appropiate lessons to teenagers and youth as it teaches the benefits of tolerance, discipline, religion, and rational behavior.” The novel being banned for the reason of promoting profanity is invalid. Most highschool students use and hear profanity almost everyday. Therefore banning The Catcher in the Rye for profanity is an invalid reason. The banning of books goes against the foundations of America. Banning a book like The Catcher in the Rye is technically a violation of the First Amendment rights because it is limiting the freedom of speech. Another reason why The Catcher in the Rye should not be banned is because students could learn moral lessons that are based on respect, education, religion, and intolerance (Academic Research Paper Writing Services).
In conclusion, Book banning is the most common form of censorship in the United States (Webb). One of the most popular books that have been banned or challenged the most is The Catcher in the Rye (“Banned from the Classroom: Censorship and The Catcher in the Rye.”). This novel has angered several parents by the use of profanity and the contents of the book (Banned Library). In my opinion I think the reason why many parents and adults try to get this novel banned from schools is because they try too hard to shield the kids from the real world.
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