Cover of the First Edition
The Catcher in the Rye
In 1951 J. D Salinger published his novel The Catcher in the Rye. The book has since then been read by millions of youngsters as well as adults all over the world. The Catcher in the Rye has been translated into many of the world's languages and the number of total printed books exceeds more than 65 million copies. Even though it was published way back in 1951 it is still a very popular reading, and also a popular book gift to young readers. More than 250,000 copies of The Catcher in the Rye are still being sold each year.
But The Catcher in the Rye has not always been popular reading, or has been valuated very high by the establishment. Even though it was intended by J. D. Salinger as a book for adults, then the most frequent readers soon became adolescent readers and teenagers who saw themselves sharing the confusion of a youngsters life, and the anti hero in the novel, Holden Caulfield became an icon for teenage rebellion against the establishment.
However, it took several decades before The Catcher in the Rye was fully recognized, as some examples are showing: In 2005 it was on Time's list of the 100 best novels written in modern English language; and the Modern Library named it one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century.
Before the recognition by the establishment and the educational system it was even frequently censored reading in the US high schools: In 1960 a teacher was fired for assigning The Catcher in the Rye in his class. And between 1961 and 1982 it was the most censored book in high schools and libraries. The turning point was around 1981, when it, at the same time, was both the most censored book and the second most taught book in public schools in the United States.
The reasons why the establishment censored and challenged the novel, The Catcher in the Rye were mainly due to its vulgar language and frequent sexual references, but even blasphemy and the undermining of moral codes and family values were on the list of criticism. Highest on the list of why The Catcher in the Rye was challenged and censored from schools was that Holden Caulfield was seen as a very bad role model, and that his behavior promoted drinking and encouraged to rebellion activities. However, all the challenge and bad publicity that The Catcher in the Rye got had a reverse effect as more and more people wanted to read for themselves what this was all about, and the waiting lists at the library where people wanted to borrow the novel grew to record sizes.
So did Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye encourage to rebellious activities?
Well, I personally do not agree to this statement, on the contrary I focus on what Holden wants to do in his life: He wants to become the catcher in the rye who catches children who are falling from the cliff.
However, I do understand that those people who have the opposite opinion focus on the fact that several murderers have been associated with the book, such as when Mark David Chapman was arrested with a copy of The Catcher in the Rye after his shooting of John Lennon; and John Hinckley, Jr. who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan was likewise connected to The Catcher in the Rye.
Other articles about J. D. Salinger's book The Catcher in the Rye are:
The Catcher in the Rye Summary, giving a short review of the novel
The Catcher in the Rye Movie, gives information about the latest rumors about the movie, when or if The Catcher in the Rye will be made as a film. This article will be updated on a regular basis, by myself and by readers who can make comments on the article. The Catcher in the Rye Movie
If you are a member of InfoBarrel then you will be able to make comments about The Catcher in the Rye Summary, the Book, and/or the Movie. If you aren't a member yet, then you can sign up here.