Banned behavior. Such issues have supplemented the
Banned Catcher Rye EssaysThe 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.
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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, people, and experiences. Holden’s psychological battle within himself serves as the tool that uncovers the coming-of-age novel’s underlying themes of teen angst, depression, and the disingenuous nature of society. The novel tackles issues of blatant profanity, teenage sex, and other erratic behavior. Such issues have supplemented the controversial nature of the book and in turn, have sparked the question of whether or not this book should be banned. The novel, The Catcher In the Rye, should not be banned from inclusion in the literature courses taught at the high school level.
Banning a book on the basis of profanity is merely a superficial reason of those who wish to limit beliefs that do not coincide with their own. By excluding a novel from a high school curriculum in order to shelter students from profanity, is an attempt to do the impossible. Profanity is found everywhere. According to TV Guide, “Profanity is uttered once every six minutes on American primetime television,” (TV). Students cannot escape uses of profanity.
Students hear profanities on television, on radio, read them in magazines, and a majority use profanities themselves in casual conversation. 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. To ban a book is to prohibit the exercise of free speech thus, denying individuals their right to implement their First Amendment rights.
Banning books is unconstitutional. Not only do First Amendment rights apply to adults but they apply to all United States citizens, including teenagers. According to The Library Bill of Rights, “Freedom of expression is an inalienable right and the foundation for self-government. Freedom of expression encompasses the freedom of speech and the corollary right to receive information. These rights extend to minors as well as adults . . .
rights of users who are minors shall in no way be abridged,” (Fricke). Freedom of expression is not limited to adults, minors too, have the right to freely express themselves and receive information. Therefore, minors have the right to read any materials in which they desire. By banning The Catcher In the Rye, and novels of the like, the rights of U.
S. citizens are restricted. The novel, The Catcher In the Rye, should not be banned from inclusion in the literature courses taught at the high school level. Banning this novel contradicts an individual’s inalienable rights as an United States citizen. It limits freedom of speech and as well as other forms of expression. Although controversial, profanity is not a reason to limit an individual’s rights. America is founded on principles that are not fueled by exceptions.
Profanity is not an exception to freedom of speech. The Catcher in the Rye should not be excluded from curriculums at the high school level.