The Catcher in the Rye

Updates: Layout has been tweaked a bit – thanks to Dayna and her patience. πŸ™‚

A few days ago, an author by the name of J. D. Salinger passed away.

He was best known for his book The Catcher in the Rye, colloquially referred to as “Catcher”. I know many of you might have heard of this book, even though you haven’t read it. The book that uses the words “phony”, “goddam” and “suave” a lot.

The book is told from the main character’s point of view (Holden Caulfield). He shares with the reader his experiences from school, suspension from school, death of his brother, his days alone in the city and his love for his sister.

It’s a deep book, and I’d highly recommend it. I don’t really want to write all about the plot so there’s a sentence for you. I wanted to talk about this, because the novel was very controversial, and nowadays a lot of teenagers are calling it a “stupid” book, a “dumb” book, amongst other common adjectives. I understand if you don’t like the book, but in my opinion this is a truly amazing book.

It’s hard to deny it. This book is not written like any other. The character of Holden Caulfield has been captured so well by Salinger. He uses the word “phony” a lot. So what? People can’t even look past the language and profanity in this book. You don’t even need to look past it. It’s obviously right there – Salinger has created a protagonist with extreme, vivid character. Without the language Salinger has used, this book would not be what it is.

This book shows you how much society fucks people up. And how much “phony” (superficial) people can leave the people with true identities off down the street. It isn’t just a book recounting the experiences of some regular teenage guy. I quote from the book:

“New York’s terrible when somebody laughs on the street very late at night. You can hear it for miles. It makes you feel so lonesome and depressed”.

It’s just one, out of many. The character of Holden Caulfield was insightful. He might have been a bit of a loser, but his character is just as revolutionary, if not more, than a sullen teenage girl with her beady eyes set on some sparkling vampire dude, or a guy who has a scar on his head who is just the best wizard of all time. I’d like to think that Bella Swan and Harry Potter don’t think as deeply as Holden Caulfield.

There are really good writers out there. Authors have their own way of telling stories. If you start being critical towards books and how “shit” they are, not liking the characters, the style of writing – you’re criticising no one but the author of a book. It’s fine to not like something they write, but think about the hard work they put into it. There’s a lot to read out there.

If you find it hard to appreciate something that is so widely considered wonderful, like The Catcher in the Rye, you don’t have to conform to society, but maybe think of reading it because chances are, Holden Caulfield feels the same way you do.

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