Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Book Week - Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

September 25 is the beginning of Banned Book Week. What is Banned Book Week you ask? 
Go to the ALA website for more information.

One of the most frequently challenged book is Catcher In The Rye .
The reasons it is challenged: 

The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
Since its publication, this title has been a favorite target of censors. In 1960, a teacher in Tulsa, OK was fired for assigning the book to an eleventh grade English class.The teacher appealed and was reinstated by the school board, but the book was removed from use in the school. 
In 1963, a delegation of parents of high school students in Columbus, OH, asked the school board to ban the novel for being "anti-white" and "obscene." The school board refused the request. Removed from the Selinsgrove, PA suggested reading list (1975). Based on parents' objections to the language and content of the book, the school board voted 5-4 to ban the book.  The book was later reinstated in the curriculum when the board learned that the vote was illegal because they needed a two-thirds vote for removal of the text. 
Challenged as an assignment in an American literature class in Pittsgrove, NJ (1977).  After months of controversy, the board ruled that the novel could be read in the Advanced Placement class, but they gave parents the right to decide whether or not their children would read it. 
Removed from the Issaquah, WA optional High School reading list (1978). Removed from the required reading list in Middleville, MI (1979). Removed from the Jackson Milton school libraries in North Jackson, OH (1980). Removed from two Anniston, AL High school libraries (1982), but later reinstated on a restrictive basis. Removed from the school libraries in Morris, Manitoba (1982) along with two other books because they violate the committee's guidelines covering "excess vulgar language, sexual scenes, things concerning moral issues, excessive violence, and anything dealing with the occult." Challenged at the Libby, MT High School (1983) due to the "book's contents." Banned from English classes at the Freeport High School in De Funiak Springs, FL (1985) because it is "unacceptable" and "obscene." Removed from the required reading list of a Medicine Bow, WY Senior High School English class (1986) because of sexual references and profanity in the book. Banned from a required sophomore English reading list at the Napoleon, ND High School (1987) after parents and the local Knights of Columbus chapter complained about its profanity and sexual references. Challenged at the Linton-Stockton, IN High School (1988) because the book is "blasphemous and undermines morality." Banned from the classrooms in Boron, CA High School (1989) because the book contains profanity. Challenged at the Grayslake, IL Community High School (1991). Challenged at the Jamaica High School in Sidell, IL (1992) because the book contained profanities and depicted premarital sex, alcohol abuse, and prostitution. Challenged in the Waterloo, IA schools (1992) and Duval County, FL public school libraries (1992) because of profanity, lurid passages about sex, and statements defamatory to minorities, God, women, and the disabled. Challenged at the Cumberland Valley Nigh School in Carlisle, PA (1992) because of a parent's objections that it contains profanity and is immoral. Challenged, but retained, at the New Richmond, WI High School (1994) for use in some English classes. Challenged as required reading in the Corona Norco, CA Unified School District (1993) because it is "centered around negative activity." The book was retained and teachers selected alternatives if students object to Salinger's novel. Challenged as mandatory reading in the Goffstown, NH schools (1994) because of the vulgar words used and the sexual exploits experienced in the book. Challenged at the St. Johns County Schools in St. Augustine, FL (1995). Challenged at the Oxford Hills High School in Paris, ME (1996). A parent objected to the use of the 'F' word. Challenged, but retained, at the Glynn Academy High School in Brunswick, GA (1997). A student objected to the novel's profanity and sexual references. Removed because of profanity and sexual situations from the required reading curriculum of the Marysville, CA Joint Unified School District (1997). The school superintendent removed it to get it "out of the way so that we didn't have that polarization over a book." Challenged, but retained on the shelves of Limestone County, AL school district (2000) despite objections about the book's foul language. Banned, but later reinstated after community protests at the Windsor Forest High School in Savannah, GA (2000). The controversy began in early 1999 when a parent complained about sex, violence, and profanity in the book that was part of an Advanced Placement English class. Removed by a Dorchester District 2 school board member in Summerville, SC (2001) because it "is a filthy, filthy book." Challenged by a Glynn County, GA (2001) school board member because of profanity. The novel was retained.  Challenged in the Big Sky High School in Missoula, MT (2009).

The Catcher in the Rye  I have just started reading it and find it very interesting.  The story is narrated by Holden, who just got kicked out of his 3rd school. I've just started reading it but it seems to me he's very bored. Bored of school, bored with life and maybe that's a typical teenager problem.  Everything is g-d this and g-d  which after awhile starts getting on my nerves . Hopefully I'll have this book read by tomorrow and I can give an updated review.

I found this bit of trivia from this website Shmoop:

  • OK, OK, we know this is a well-known fact, but still: Mark David Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon, was carrying a copy of The Catcher in the Rye when he was arrested. He said in his police statement that the larger, presumably better part of his personality was Holden Caulfield, while the smaller part of his personality was Satan. (Source
  • On that note, John Hinckley Jr., the guy who tried to kill Ronald Reagan in 1981, was also a Caulfield fan. (Source)
  • Everyone wants to make a movie out of The Catcher in the Rye, but Salinger had a bad experience with one of his former short stories ("Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut," if anyone cares, which everyone should, since Nine Stories is awesome) and refused to let any of his works be made into film after that. Salinger thought about making it into a play, where he himself would play Caulfield. No one else could, seemed to be the conclusion. (Source)
  • Some think the 2002 film Igby Goes Down ripped off Catcher. (Source)
  • The titles of both The Catcher in the Rye and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck come from works by the same Scottish poet: Robert Burns. (Source)
  • Somehow, The Catcher in the Rye has been one of the most frequently taught books and one of the most banned. (Source)
  • The Soho Weekly News once tried to claim that Thomas Pynchon, author of Gravity's Rainbow, was J.D. Salinger. As in, they're the same person. But then Pynchon was all, "No," so the theory went the way of Beanie Babies and The Spice Girls. (Source)
 Are you reading a banned book this week?


Suko said...

I can't believe that this book is still being banned. Oh, well. I read and reviewed it a few years ago on my blog. :)

Anonymous said...

I read this way back when but I can't say I remember a while lot about it. Now that Salinger is dead I wonder if they can make his movies.

Suzanne said...

Last year I read this for Banned Book Week. I thought i was the only one NOT to have read it, and after reading it, I wondered why I waited so long. I really enjoyed it, and it was kind of nostalgic in its setting.

I'm celebrating Banned Books Week on my blog too this week, so if you get a chance stop by and share your thoughts!

Chick with Books

Teenage Bride said...

Natalie this is by far one of my favorite books of all time!!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I have not read this book yet but you know I am coming after it! :D

Great post Natalie!

Alice Teh said...

I wish I brought it with me to Penang because now I so want to read it. I'll have to rectify this when I get home next weekend.