Monday, January 17, 2011

Now, for some good news...

'The Catcher in the Rye' won't be banned from South Fork High School, according to Eve Samples of  This decision comes in response to a complaint from a mother of five who wanted The Catcher in the Rye banned from the entire Martin County School District.  I covered this situation a short while ago (here) and wrote about the irony of this mother wanting Catcher removed from the district and allowing her child to read Huckleberry Finn as an alternative text (with it's 216 instances of "nigger.")

Samples writes, "'The Catcher in the Rye,' J.D. Salinger's provocative and sometimes crass novel about Caulfield, will remain on the school's reading list — despite protests from the mother of an 11th-grader there."
Ultimately, [the committee] decided the controversial language was outweighed by the salient points that Salinger makes. Even use of the 'F' word was justified, they agreed, because it was in context. When Caulfield sees the word scrawled on a wall, he is repulsed. He wants to conceal it from his younger sister.
"It wasn't him saying it. It was him getting angry over it," said Jennifer Salas, the Martin County Library System's youth services coordinator.
The committee decided the book "is appropriate for students at South Fork High School," and the district as a whole. For parents who disagree with it, the committee respected their rights to choose alternative books for their children.
I'm quite happy that this was the final decision and I applaud the committee for standing by the use of the book in classrooms and for understanding the meaning of context.  It's nice when I get to write a little post about a book being kept in the open rather than being treated as a toxic object of unnatural evil.  Thanks, as always, for listening.

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