College of Arts and Sciences
Literature, C.S. Lewis, Literary Criticism
American Literature | Reading and Language
Griffiths, Abigail, "Lewis in the Rye: An Approach to Controversial Literature" (2018). Senior Honors Theses. 747.
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.