Joao Raimundo Mr. Booth English 10 01/10/2013 Influences of The Catcher in the Rye in the World Although The Catcher in the Rye has been considered one of the top 100 Books of the Century by the French newspaper Le Monde (Savigneau), it is highly controversial and many people despise it. Several societies believe that the book leads the reader to psychological problems and misfits in society. Countless schools and libraries have banned the books during its first years of existence, however, it is considered one of the most important books of the century.
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The book has been the reason, or has been entioned, in many murders, of people such as: John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, and the attempt of assassination of Ronald Reagan. The murderers had read The Catcher in the Rye before the events. When they were caught, or found, they had the book. The character, Holden Caulfield, in J. D. Salinger’s, The Catcher in the Rye, has many psychological problems and is an outcast in society, leading some people to follow his path and taking it to the extreme, by killing others. The main themes of the book have been discussed for years and these are the themes that are most talked about by readers.
The Catcher in the Rye has been read by millions of people, who can come to a consensus to what the theme is. The main themes of the books are: loneliness and social awkwardness. The main character, Holden Caulfield, was a very depressed young boy. He was expelled from his previous schools and in the beginning of the book was in a boarding school. He later found out that he was expelled from the boarding school, but, he could only go home the week later, in order for his family not to know that he was expelled. From the moment he decides to leave school, to the moment the week ends, we undergo a voyage with Holden.
We understand how he lives, how depressed he was, he was always commenting on other people and he was not happy with his life. He
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didn’t know how to interact with people, he didn’t even like to talk with people. As Daniel Chasan has stated, “Since its publication, Catcher in the Rye has been a favorite target of censors. ” He believes that still today The Catcher in the Rye is being banned and censured. The book has been banned by the American Library Association ever since it was published. In many schools, books have been banned. In 1960, a teacher was fired for assigning the book to an eleventh grade English class.
He later on was employed again, but the book was removed from the school. In 1963, parents from a school asked the school to ban the book for being obscene and ‘anti- white’ (Chasan). As Baldassarro stated about this matter: “In 1981, it was both the most censored book and the second most taught book in public schools in the United States. “(Banned Book Awareness) Both schools and libraries banned the book and censored it, but it still kept on growing becoming one of the most read books of all For 21 years it was the most censored book in nigh schools and I ibraries in the United States (Baldassarro).
This shows that the book was very popular at the time. The Catcher in the Rye was banned because it was centered on negative activity, it is a filthy book, because of profanity, lurid passages about sex, statements defamatory to minorities, God, women and the disabled (Chasan). On November 22, 1963, the 35th president of the United States of America was shot dead in Dallas, Texas (November 22). John F. Kennedy was shot three times by Lee Harvey Oswald. Lee was on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository when he killed John F. Kennedy. When he last shot Kennedy he went to the movies, nd before he got in, he killed a police officer.
He was caught in the movies 70 minutes after the killing of the president (Encyclop¦dia Britannica). This was a national disaster. No one was expecting this to happen. Oswald was killed 2 days after the shooting by Jack Ruby. The Catcher in the Rye was Just one of several other books Oswald owned. There isn’t much information linking the killer and the book, but we can assume that Oswald read the book before he killed the president, and may have gotten his ideas from the book. Oswald was a former US Marine and he as in the Soviet Union from 1959 to 1962. When he was caught, Oswald claimed he was innocent (Oswald).
John Lennon was one of the most popular artists of his time. The Beatles were very famous and loved. Mark David Chapman was a 25 year old man that lived in Hawaii, but flew in to New York with one sole reason: to kill John Lennon. It all happened December 8, 1980. Chapman went to a book store and bought The Catcher in the Rye and wrote “This is my statement” and signed it “Holden Caulfield”. Later that day, Chapman and Lennon’s first encounter was outside Lennon’s apartment. Chapman sked Lennon to sign his album, and when he signed it, Lennon said, “Is that all right? ” Chapman chuckled and walked away (Buskin).
Later that night, when Lennon and Yoko Ono (his wife) came back from the studio, Chapman was waiting for them in the shadows of the entrance. He shot 4 times and killed Lennon. When this act was finished, instead of fleeing the crime spot, Chapman waited on the sidewalk reading The Catcher in the Rye (Buskin). When he was caught, he stated, “I’m sure the big part of me is Holden Caulfield, who is the main person in the book. The small part of me must be the Devil. (Chapman). The Catcher in the Rye was the source of inspiration for the killer. He was fascinated with the book and everyone was a “phony’.
Chapman must have thought that Lennon was a phony who sang about peace and love, but lived in great wealth, so his assassination must have been the answer to end a world with phonies. Chapman once tried to change his name to Holden Caulfield, which is how devoted he was towards this book (Turner). The last incident linking to The Catcher in the Rye was the attempt of murder of Ronald Reagan. This all happened in March 30, 1981. John Hinckley, Jr. as fascinated with Jodie Foster, an actress, after watching her movie “Taxi Driver” 1 5 times, and followed her around the country to wherever she went (Levy).
The president had given a speech in the National Conference of Building and Construction Trades Department, in Washington, D. C. When he was walking outside the Hilton Hotel, Hinckley shot 6 times, missing most shots on the president. The bullets hit Reagan’s chest, and people and the walls surrounding him. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason ot insani n er . Attert e trial n , Hinckley stated, “The greatest love ottering n the history of the world”, and did not indicate any regrets (Taylor).
Regarding the book, The Catcher in the Rye, Hinckley wasn’t obsessed with the book, but it so happened that when they entered his hotel room, they found the book in the coffee table. He stated to the police that he read the book and it gave him strength to kill Ronald Reagan (Richard). Hinckley, such as Holden, was an outsider, he was lonely and he used to stalk Jodie Foster, and the killing of Ronald Reagan was an attempt of getting her attention. The Catcher in the Rye was indeed a very controversial book during this century.See More on John F. Kennedy