this book have such an impact on Americans in the 20th century and today? Here are some suggestions: Look for information on the book reviews when it was published in 1951, link interviews with current writers that were affected by Holden and add them to your page. How did teenagers react to the book when it w3as first published? Why was the book banned? Are the letters readers wrote to the author? See if you can find reasons.
The Catcher in the Rye ; History of the Novel
external image catcher2.jpg

Impact on the 20th Century:

The Catcher in the Rye could easily be considered one of the most controversial novels to ever be written. When the book was released, it was an instant hit and also made its way on to The New York Times best-seller list. For many years, this book was very popular, remaining on that list for about thirty weeks. A majority of readers were teenagers and young adults. It is liked by this age group particularly because of the style it is written in, always keeping the reader on the edge of their seat waiting for what is going to happen next. The book however was not liked by all, especially parents. Since the book contains foul language, and Holden's behavior is considered immoral, parents have requested for the book to not be taught in schools all over the country.

The book has also been linked to a number of assassinations. It has been said that Mark David Chapman (assassinated John Lennon), John Hinckley Jr. ( attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan), and Robert John Bardo (assassinated Rebecca Schaeffer) all had possession of the novel.

A town in Columbus, Ohio, claimed the book is "anti-white" and had it banned from local schools. A library also banned it for "violating codes" on "excess vulgar language, sexual scenes, things concerning moral issues, excessive violence, and anything dealing with the occult."

Read more:,28804,1842832_1842838_1845068,00.html#ixzz0hFycWiq7


Robert Coles reflected general critical opinion of the author when he called Salinger "an original and gifted writer, a marvelous entertainer, a man free of the slogans and clichés the rest of us fall prey to" (qtd. in Davis 317).

"Ever since its publication in 1951, J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye has served as a firestorm for controversy and debate. Critics have argued the moral issues raised by the book and the context in which it is presented. Some have argued that Salinger's tale of the human condition is fascinating and enlightening, yet incredibly depressing. The psychological battles of the novel's main character, Holden Caulfield, serve as the basis for critical argument. Caulfield's self-destruction over a period of days forces one to contemplate society's attitude toward the human condition. Salinger's portrayal of Holden, which includes incidents of depression, nervous breakdown, impulsive spending, sexual exploration, vulgarity, and other erratic behavior, have all attributed to the controversial nature of the novel. Yet the novel is not without its sharp advocates, who argue that it is a critical look at the problems facing American
youth during the 1950's. When developing a comprehensive opinion of the novel, it is important to consider the praises and criticisms of The Catcher in the Rye.

Read More: - critique taken directly from Eric Lozamoff

" The Catcher and the Rye is one of the most widely read and discussed works in the American Literary canon." (Source 1) Many children and teachers have censored The Catcher in the Rye because of the fear that the vulgarity and "immoral" context may corrupt young minds. Another issue that has been debated is if the the book is a "significant work of literature", meaning that the significance of the context and whether it offers insight to human existence or American culture is being questioned. Arguements against the book say that vulgar concepts outweight the supposed "insights".

By David Kipen, the former director of literature for the National Endowment for the arts
"I think Salinger will be read as long as there are misunderstood adolescents, or students of fine writing -- especially funny writing," ( )

" "J.D Salinger was probably the most influential American writer since Ernest Hemingway," said author __Jay McInerney__. "In the years following the Second World War, he reinvigorated the language with his ear for contemporary colloquial speech and redrew the cultural landscape with his empathetic exploration of teen angst." " - ( )

Read More:
Old Newspaper Review of Catcher in the Rye from New York Times written by Nash K. Burger from 1951:

Reasons Why Book has been banned:

-Use of profanity throughout the book
-Premarital sex
-Alcohol abuse
-Rejection of American morals
-Sexual matter

source : (,)

Salinger is known both for his "insight" into adolescence and adulthood. Symbolism and idiomatic style were common methods used by Salinger in his stories and the Catcher in the Rye was no exception. This book was the reason that the use of popular idioms returned to American literature. However, the profanity, sexual matter and rejection of a few American ideals has lead to the book being banned from bookstores to libraries, and schools.

Random Fact:
A woman in Washington state counted 785 uses of profanity.

Letters to the Author:

written by Herbert Gold, quotes taken directly from letter written to J.D

"Of the few actual encounters with Salinger recalled in the book, the one thing all have in common is that they're utterly, wonderfully, mundane. The novelist Herbert Gold recounts in his letter to J.D. an actual exchange by mail they had back in the '60s, the closest we come to epistolary intimacy:
"Dear Mr. Salinger,
Some forty years ago, along with David Lloyd Stevenson, I was preparing an anthology that was published under the title, 'Stories of Modern America.' We requested permission from you to reprint one of your stories. You wrote a short note to deny us the privilege. Alas, your note seems to have disappeared ... But the mysterious last sentence ... is fixed in my memory. It read: 'I have my reasons.'"
Gold goes on, with his typically insightful wit, to ponder what reasons Salinger might have had, reasons the stoic author so obviously intended to persuade nobody but himself. ("Did your rejection of our offer mean," Gold asks, "that you wanted your story to be the only one in our anthology?") Yet the greater significance to this tale isn't what Salinger said, but rather that "the mysterious last sentence" hasn't after all these years been forgotten by Gold.

Read more: [[ of letter from: :|]]
[[ of letter from: :|Part of letter from: :]]

Part of the letter: :

Teenager Reviews:

Many teenagers enjoy reading The Cather in the Rye because of its rebellious nature and interesting details. Although many schools and libraries have banned this book since it was first published, teenagers and young adults have found ways to get their hands of this book. The reason this age group enjoys this book so much is the simple reason that they can either relate to Holden, or they enjoy reading about a young man in a stressful time much like themselves. Many parents, school boards and libraries will continue to take The Catcher in the Rye off the shelves, and many teens and young adults will continue to snatch this book up and read one of Americas greatest novels.

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