The lack common sense. The Catcher and

The Catcher in the Rye, a novel by J.D.Salinger is critiqued as one of the best novels in the past hundred years and is one of the most popular books among teenangers, but simultaneously it is the first book on the censored list. The criminals that shot John Lennon and president Reagan claim that they were motivated to do such a crime from reading this novel. Because of these acts of violence, there has been a controversy on whether this novel should be taught in high schools or be banned. The Catcher in the Rye in and of itself does not promote violence, and people that lack this understanding lack common sense. The Catcher and the Rye should be taught to eleventh graders since ultimately Salinger is trying to convey a positive message, the main character has admirable qualities that can be taken away by the readers, and the book is still relevant to teens today.This book may display some acts of violence and use offensive language at certain places, but the use of these scenes are important to the overall message Salinger is trying to communicate. The main theme that Salinger conveys is about innocence, which he does through the main character, Holden, who wants to preserve innocence and is having a hard time accepting adulthood. The struggle with transitioning into adulthood is common for all teens of Holden’s age. Salinger shows how the characters Holden looks up to all display a form of innocence. For example Holden respects the nuns since he believes they are virtuous and goes out of his way to even make a donation to them. Holden constantly complains about people and how they are all fake, but after talking to these nuns he states, “I said I’d enjoyed talking to them a lot, too. I meant it, too.”(Salinger 125). This shows that Holden has a true appreciation for the nuns. Holden admires his sister, Phoebe, since she is a child who is innocent and mature at the same time. Holden talks about Phoebe and how he adores her by saying, “You never saw a little kid so pretty and smart in your whole life… if you tell Old Phoebe something, she knows exactly what the hell you’re talking about”(Salinger 75).  Another example Salinger uses to express Holden’s take on adulthood and innocence is through the catcher in the rye. Holden visualizes a field with children playing and a cliff at the edge. He wants to be there to catch the children that fall into the cliff. Holden associates the cliff with adulthood and wants to protect the innocent children from falling into the dangers of adulthood. This thought mainly occurs to Holden since he himself is afraid of tackling adulthood, which once again many children of that age deal with. He is afraid of becoming a “phony” or becoming fake and living life by following society rather than living for himself. However, near the end of the novel, Holden undergoes a realization where it strikes him that you cannot just be afraid and you need to take risks and experience things in life. This leads him to saying that he does not want to catch the children from falling off the cliff rather guide them. This realization is ideal for children of this age to go through and if that can be done by reading about other’s realizations, then reading this book does come in favor to teens. The main character, Holden, may have some poor qualities such as being immature and judgemental, but at the same time he has some qualities that the readers can take away such as his generosity, and kind-heartedness. His good qualities can be noticed throughout the novel. For example, Holden warm heartedness can be seen through his interaction with his history teacher. Holden had intentionally failed that class along with most of his other classes, but he noted that his history teacher felt bad for flunking him. For that Holden says, “I told him I was a real Moron, and all that stuff. I told him how I would have done exactly the same thing if I’d been in his place, and how most people didn’t appreciate how tough it is being a teacher.”(Salinger 15). From this it can be seen that Holden is a rational person who understands what others are going through. In this case he understood how his teacher had a tough time failing him and even consoles him that it was completely his own fault. Another instance where Holden’s good-heartedness is shown is when he talks to one of his classmate’s mom. He sees her on a train and comforts her about her son. He lies to make her feel better about her son by saying, “‘Old Ernie…He’s one of the most popular boys at Pency. Did you know that?” (Salinger 63). Holden knew all mothers love hearing their sons praised and therefore even lied to make her feel better. In many places, it can be noted that Holden lies, but in some places he does this for the better. Holden lies to reassure his history teacher, a classmate’s mom, and several others which shows that he has the capability of empathizing for others. For teenagers, being able to feel empathy for others may not happen naturally, and to be able to learn such a quality from a book and through a controversial character like Holden will definitely benefit them. Even after about 60 years this novel still relates to teens all over the place. It may seem as though there are several factors to this novel that make it irrelevant in today’s world, such as the setting and the language used. For example this novel takes place after World War II, so the environment itself is completely different and the perspective of all the characters are different, but once when you look past the surface and dig deeper it is evident that Holden’s personality and struggles is truly relevant to teens today. Throughout the novel Holden feels isolated and is in search of finding someone to talk to. This can be seen when he says, “Well – take me to the Edmont then,” I said. “Would you care to stop on the way and join me for a cocktail? On me, I’m loaded.”Salinger (93) This shows how desperate Holden is feeling for company and is willing to be with a stranger and pay for their drink. Isolation is something many teenagers go through through even today. Today’s world has become a digital world, so in many cases, the connections one makes digitally are not strong or true. Therefore many in times of distress feel isolated and seek for true companionship like Holden dees. The issue with innocence and struggling with adulthood, along with isolation are few of the many issues Holden goes through that relates to teens even today.Altogether The Catcher In the Rye should be taught to eleventh graders despite the controversies that exist. Salinger conveys an overall positive theme of innocence and how many teens struggle to walk into adulthood because of their fears. Salinger also portrays through Holden the importance of empathy and caring for others. This novel even today can be related to teens because of the issues Holden goes through, such as isolation, are still relevant in today’s world. There may have been some offensive language and violence used, but it was only done to depict the correct mood and to paint the proper picture of the overall message Salinger wanted to disclose.

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