Reviewing the Catcher in the Rye Article

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[. . .] D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is both social shocking and from an educational standpoint is morally unconscionable. I read the other day that a teacher in Oklahoma was fired for giving her high school students an assignment to read and report on Salinger's great American novel. That is outrageous!

When it comes to teenage angst represented through a frustrated ex-prep school student trying to find his way in a confusing adult world, Salinger has hit the literary nail on the head. When Holden Caulfield is put off by his friend Sally -- after taking her to a Broadway show and taking her skating at Rockefeller Center -- his classical teenage response for rejection is universal: "You give me a royal pain in the ass, if you want to know the truth." My own son went through some of the same situations that Holden went through, and my son was cynical about society too, so this book has relevance to teenagers and to adults. Moreover, this is a country that prides itself on freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and while we teach our kids in social studies classes about these Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms, here we are telling those same kids they can't read a certain book because it is provocative and reflects the confusion and angst that young people experience in our society.

In conclusion, let me say to all the libraries and schools that are banning this book, your actions are very similar to the book-burning rallies that Hitler promoted. I hope in the coming years our schools and libraries will have a more enlightened approach to books that might be a little raw and provocative -- while presenting an important social message! Like Holden, I'm telling the truth -- "I really did" -- and if you are a school board member demanding the book be banned, and if you "play bridge & #8230;and drink martinis," you're no better than the "phonies" that Holden calls out in Salinger's terrific book.

Advice Column -- Ask Mollie

"Dear Mollie, my daughter was starting to read J.D. Salinger's book, The Catcher in the Rye, when the school issued a memo that bans the book at our high school. What should I do to show my disgust? I am ready to go to the high school library and pound on the librarian's desk, demanding an explanation (signed) Outraged in Brooklyn." Dear Outraged, you should arrange a meeting with the principal and express your viewpoints. And during the next school board meeting, get several other parents to attend with you and tell the board how narrow-minded they are. Shouting and banging on desks won't solve this problem. You need to make this debate one of scholarship and rights, not of anger and protest.

"Dear Mollie, what is so bad about The Catcher in the Rye? Yes it uses curse words and has a teen protagonist who rages against society's phoniness, but the story itself is wonderfully told and has pertinence for today's youth. I have not read the book but I have read scholarly criticism of it and I want my daughter to be able to read it in school next year when she enters as a freshman (signed) Wondering in New Jersey." Dear Wondering, the Salinger book is ideally suited for a young reader. Don't let the negativity in libraries and schools dissuade you from your correct view that it is a great book. I would gather a few parents that you know together and strategize as to how you intend to show support for the teachers that want to assign this wonderful book to their juniors and seniors at school.

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Works Cited

Salinger, Jerome David. (2010). The Catcher… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Reviewing the Catcher in the Rye.  (2014, June 8).  Retrieved December 14, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/reviewing-catcher-rye/5489344

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"Reviewing the Catcher in the Rye."  Essaytown.com.  June 8, 2014.  Accessed December 14, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/reviewing-catcher-rye/5489344.