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Ever since its publication in 1951 J.D.Salinger's Catcher in the rye has served as a firestorm for controversy and debate why is this and is the books reputation still deserved?

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Ever since its publication in 1951 J.D.Salinger's Catcher in the rye has served as a firestorm for controversy and debate why is this and is the books reputation still deserved? Catcher in the rye has for over 50 years become one of the most talked about books that has received a cult following from teenagers and adults who feel disgruntled with society. The books success is not just owed to the style it was written in but almost as much to the context of the world around when it was released in 1951, the underlying tones in the book which are central to Holden un-American views of his mother country and its consumer society. The book has gained a reputation as being controversial due to Holdens rebellious nature towards the American society although its not as controversial today. The world at this time was becoming increasingly easy to split between the East and West and with this divide also came conflicting political systems. The West believed in capitalism, with the largest country being the USA. Capitalism promotes a consumerist society where freedom to chose is of the foremost importance. This means freedom to buy what goods you wanted and to be able to live the American dream where through hard work you could " make a million ". ...read more.


Even if his view could be put down to his mental state at the time it would make people think that Holden is a communist, with his lack of care for money and material possessions. One of Holden's few possessions we are aware of is his " red hunting hat " and with red being the colour of communists and Holden's putting on of the hat when he feels threatened creates a powerful image that communists protect people from capitalists. These type of images caused debate between people who thought it should be banned due to the communist images it created and those who thought the book was a masterpiece. It wasn't just the communist sympathies that Holden displayed that made the book controversial but is presentation as well. In America Holden's use of bad language in the novel split peoples opinions, " somebody sneak up and write fuck you right under your nose " Some reviewers described the book as a " sensational achievement " where as others objected to its "use of bad language and shocking nature of some of the scenes ". For the time the language was extreme and caused it to be condemned by educational authorities in America and even banned in some states. Although the reason for the book being banned was due to the language and the belief that Holden was thought to be a bad example to young people ...read more.


In Holden, Salinger had given people a rebel figure to look up to who was not your typical American Hero. The American capitalist population who were alert to threats because of the fallout of world war two could have seen Holden as a threat as he went against their way of thinking but more importantly went towards a communist way of thinking. Whether the novel would be a controversial today is unlikely. Communism is not seen as a threat anymore and the cold war has ended. The style and language used by Salinger to great affect is no longer controversial and is commonplace in many books and on T.V. Despite this events such as September 11th and the rise of terrorism has made Americans aware again of people who aren't on their side with Holden possibly been as one. The book for the right reader who intends to attack the capitalist lifestyle could be a motivator for them, even so there is much stronger anti-American material on the internet if they wish to read to become motivated. In my opinion Catcher in the ryes reputation in the 1950s was deserved but over time it became less controversial as the threat of communism fell. Recent events have made the book start to become more controversial due to Holdens un-American views but overall its has become less controversial since its release. Word count: 1383 Tim Bassett 7135 27120 ...read more.

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