How to Teach About the Use of Profanity in Teenage Literature: An Analysis of The Catcher in the Rye and The Chocolate War

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This work utilizes hermeneutics as a lens for understanding the role of profanity in two young adult novels: The Catcher in the Rye and The Chocolate War. Profanity usage in both novels is indicative of the realistic nature of the characters' lives and struggles.

Hermeneutics, used as a philosophical lens, allows for deeper understanding of textual language. If interpreted through educational and historical context with the aid of hermeneutics, profanity becomes a useful literary element within the text.


"... has written a provocative academic text that offers unique scholarly insights into controversies surrounding literature in the school curriculum. Teachers of literature, pre-service education students in literacy and reading programs, and students of literary analysis will all gain important insights into the process of understanding texts through a hermeneutical lense." Dr. Patrick Slattery, Texas A&M University

"... offers a nuanced approach to how the language of literature must echo the lives of students to be effective. Discussing perspectives of disgust, profanity, and word aversion, the author provides a historical and cultural understanding of why current literature in classrooms avoids everyday language through an articulation of Gadamer's hermeneutics. " Dr. Scott Baker, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse

"... demonstrates how a critical pedagogical approach that recognizes positionality, and problematizes positivist and standardized approaches can enhance the dialectics of a classroom. At the same time, it can encourage classrooms to be more democratic by decentralizing knowledge and contracting new understanding. By demonstrating the value of students' contextualized and personal interpretation of text, the author makes a strong argument for pedagogical approaches that emphasize personal connections and insist on teaching and valuing the ambiguities of language." Dr. Roberto J. Garcia, Weber State University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Patrick Slattery



Chapter I: Introduction

Chapter II: Literature Review

Chapter III: Methodology

Chapter IV: Experiences

Chapter V: Discussion and Conclusions



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