Publication Date

Spring 2018


College of Arts and Sciences




Literature, C.S. Lewis, Literary Criticism


American Literature | Reading and Language


This thesis aims to coalesce literary criticism with Christian theology to provide a guideline for how Christians, who uphold a certain moral logic, should interact with literature that sparks controversy among readers. An analysis of J.D. Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye (1951) will be considered through the lens of C.S. Lewis’ commentary on good reading, good critique, and good art. Catcher in the Rye, an American novel, contains elements of derogatory language, promiscuous scenes, and insinuations of nihilism. How would C.S. Lewis, a British novelist and a prominent figure in Christian thought, read Salinger’s work: would he find it delightful or would he even consider it at all? The conclusions from this case study may prompt some contemplation about the Christian experience of engaging with the world through literature.