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Censorship: A Friend Or Foe?

             "There's far more to the censorship issue than a ban on sex and four-letter words. I sometimes think that those of us who need to be the most clearheaded about these matters are planting the very trees that obscure our view of the forest- says Dorothy Briley (C5). According to Briley, a vast amount more is needed than simply vulgar language and suggestive material to censor a novel. But this is the very reason why J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is frequently being banned from high schools. To the reader who is at the transition from childhood to adulthood, the protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, becomes the reader's hero. The adolescent mind that Salinger portrays so accurately in his novel is one that most teenagers can identify with. The Catcher in the Rye also contains universal themes that, for teenagers about to shift into adulthood, help them to better comprehend the world and other people. Although it does contain invective speech and sexual connotations, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger should not be censored in high schools because it provides insightful information and relevance to the life of young adults through its themes of materialism and loss of innocence. .
             It may be obvious why so many high schools are banning Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. There is an abundance of scurrilous language throughout the whole of the novel and also mature, sexual topics that many feel high school students should not be introduced to. For instance, Holden has "an unsuccessful encounter with a hotel prostitute, is informed by an older male friend about the omnipresence of predatory gay males, and ponders frequently his virginal state- (Simmons 3). Consequently, society tends to assume teenagers are too callow and too unseasoned in such subjects to procure any worthy guidance from the novel. Thus, many schools are banning Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in order to halt the further advancement of vituperative language and grown-up, sensual topics into young adults' lives.

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