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ERIC Number: ED014484
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1964-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
CENSORSHIP AND THE VALUES OF FICTION.
BOOTH, WAYNE C.
GENERAL STATEMENTS ABOUT THE MORAL VALUE OF LITERATURE HAVE PROVED TO BE UNSUCCESSFUL IN DISSUADING POTENTIAL CENSORS. MORE EFFECTIVE ARE ARGUMENTS WHICH CONVINCE THE PERSON WHO ATTEMPTS TO CENSOR LITERATURE THAT HE IS VIOLATING HIS OWN SOCIAL, POLITICAL, OR MORAL STANDARDS. HOWEVER, THESE, ALSO, ARE FREQUENTLY TOO GENERAL TO BE CONVINCING. THEREFORE, THE TEACHER SHOULD BE PREPARED WITH REASONABLE AND ARTICULATE DEFENSES OF THE SPECIFIC WORKS HE PLANS TO TEACH, BASED UPON ANTICIPATED CRITICISMS BY POTENTIAL CENSORS. IN PREPARING DEFENSES, TEACHERS SHOULD LEAD POTENTIAL CENSORS TO (1) CONSIDER THE OBJECTIONABLE ELEMENTS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE WORK, (2) REREAD THE BOOK CAREFULLY TO AVOID BEING MISLED BY FIRST IMPRESSIONS WHICH ARE MODIFIED BY SUSTAINED REFLECTION, AND (3) REALIZE THAT THE REAL MORAL CENTER OF A WORK CANNOT USUALLY BE IDENTIFIED WITH THE EXPRESSED VALUES OF ANY ONE CHARACTER. "CATCHER IN THE RYE" SERVES AS A READY EXAMPLE OF THE KIND OF BOOK FREQUENTLY UNDER ATTACK. IF THE TEACHER CAN BRIEFLY EXPLICATE THE BOOK, EMPHASIZING ITS MORAL CONTEXT AND THE CONTRIBUTION OF HOLDEN'S REACTION TO THE PROSTITUTE AND THE WORDS SCRAWLED ON THE STAIRWELL, THE POTENTIAL CENSOR NOT ONLY MAY BE DISSUADED FROM PURSUING HIS DESIRES, BUT ALSO MAY BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITIES OF LITERATURE ITSELF AND HOW THE "IMMORAL" BOOK MAY BE, IN FACT, MORAL BY THE CENSOR'S OWN STANDARDS. THIS ARTICLE IS A REPRINT FROM "THE ENGLISH JOURNAL," MARCH 1964, AND IS ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TEACHERS OF ENGLISH, 508 SOUTH SIXTH STREET, CHAMPAIGN, ILL. 61820, FOR $0.20. (DL)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: CATCHER IN THE RYE