A Catcher in the Rye Theme

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Teenage years; a quest for self identity, a sense of self. In trying to find themselves, it’s not uncommon to find a teenager experimenting with smoking, drugs, and sex. Teenagers use vulgar language, and are more rebellious than they were in their earlier years. In the essay on Catcher in the Rye, a 16 year old boy by the name of Holden tells his narrative from the lonely walls of a sanatorium. Holden tells about his journey with sex, smoking, drinking, depression, and sexual abuse.

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Although these are real problems in the real world, parents feel as though the concepts displayed in the book aren’t appropriate for their children, thus getting the book banned. However, A Catcher in the Rye deals with problems teenagers face on a daily basis, it teaches a valuable lesson, and students are able to reason with the novel. Therefore, this novel should not be banned.

In A Catcher in the Rye, Holden experiences problems that many teenagers experience on a day to day basis. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Nearly 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by the age of 18”, and “Each day in the United States more than 3,200 youth aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette, and an additional 2,100 youth and young adults become daily cigarette smokers.” When it comes to any tobacco use, “ nearly half (46%) of high school students say they’ve tried a tobacco product”. Additionally, teens abuse alcohol more than any other drug. 68% of high school seniors have tried alcohol, 37.4% of high school seniors have drank within the last month, and 23.5 % of sophomores in high school have drank within the last month. Also, according to ranin.org, 1 out of 9 females under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse and 1 out of 53 males under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse. Although it’s troubling to think about, issues such as these are prominent in society and surround teenagers.

Additionally, Holden’s situation could be a lesson to the audience. Although he feels lonesome, neglected, alienated and depressed, he never reached out for help. His depression even got to a point where he was violent. Holden smashed windows and screamed at his friends. He became distant with his family. Although it’s sad, it’s not uncommon. An estimated “2.8 billion kids in America aged 12-17 have had some type of depressive episode”. However, only thirty percent of those teens seek treatment. American teen’s emotions are very similar to Holden’s emotions. Mentally he wasn’t performing properly, and he knew this, but he never asked for help. If he had asked for help, then his anger and depression would’ve gotten better and he wouldn’t be in a sanatorium, which could be a lesson to those who are going through the same emotions.

Although many teachers and parents don’t approve of the books because of the use of swear words, teens are able to reason with it. Teens feel many of the emotions that Holden feels. Teenagers also express themselves in the way that Holden does. Many of the words used in the novel are used on an everyday basis whether it comes from the student’s mouth, the parent’s mouth, or peers’ mouths. Therefore, it isn’t language that students aren’t already used to.

In a final analysis, this novel should not be banned. A Catcher in the Rye is a classic novel that deals with real world problems, despite how harsh it may seem. Although it explores questionable themes, these are themes that are prevalent in society, and banning a book wouldn’t change the world or make the problems in society disappear. Holden experiences the emotions and problems that many teenagers face, his situation could be a lesson to the students going through similar tribulations, and the students reading the novel can relate to him.

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A Catcher in the Rye Theme. (2021, Apr 19). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-catcher-in-the-rye-theme/