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The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger

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I can't remember much (if anything) about the book... But I'm starting to sympathize with him a bit... I know the book's not very popular around here, and some have said that he's selfish and angst-ridden, and maybe they are right, but then again, Holden's still a teenager, and teenage years are the worst :D For some, it really feels like the world's going to end, or at least their lives are going to end, and what not... It would be interesting if there was a sequel to Holden's story, and he would get all introspective on his teenage years. Just to see if he's changed at all. :)

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I think the age which you read this book at is very critical to how well it is received. It would seem that those who read it in their adolescence adore it and those who read it later in life are not that impressed by it.

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I know I posted a review here back toward the end of 2006.  But it seems to be gone.  Anyhow, I didn't like the book much, but compared it to chewing crystal or cut glass.

Wish I could find it.  pooh.  :(

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I think the age which you read this book at is very critical to how well it is received. It would seem that those who read it in their adolescence adore it and those who read it later in life are not that impressed by it.

I totally agree with you.. it's that kind of story in which the age is fundamental.

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Reading this thread and being a teenager myself makes me want to take the time to read The Catcher in the Rye. Probably one of the next two or three books that I will read. 

 

More to come :)

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I first read the book when I was 15 or 16, and I really liked it. I was in a situation similar to Holden's, and this book quickly became one of my favorite novels! 

We studied it last year in class, and it was fascinating :)

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I still remember the day I received it. Excitedly I ripped open the package and began reading. Around halfway through I started to lose interest and was a little baffled as to why it was so popular. A friend of mine who is about twenty years older told me that its popularity comes from the elder crowd. At the time that it was published it was a very raw book. In the western world, Christianity and morals were very high so talking about some of the matter in the book was frowned upon. It was a guilty pleasure to read it is the way he explained it.

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I totally agree with you.. it's that kind of story in which the age is fundamental.

Brian and Eleonora, you are 'right on the mark' there.I read it in my 20's [i think] maybe 30's and although I saw the merit in the writing, I had long outgrown all the angst of teenager-dom.It  was also of it's age , but perhaps serves to remind us of how frustrating and difficult it is to be a 'near ' adult, but still really a child.

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I read The Catcher in the Rye as part of my English Lit. curriculum whilst I was at high school. I must own that it is one of my least liked books. I loathe the book. I really couldn't stand Holden and his incessant whining. Holden is the original Emo kid. Sorry to be so harsh, however, there it is.
 

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It's interesting how many people can't stand this book, me being one of them. What makes this book so popular and deemed a classic? Maybe it's something you need to read at a certain point in your life in order to appreciate it?

 

I often wonder if I just need to reread the novel to get a different perspective.

Edited by Angury

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I have often wondered the same, Angury. I *think* the novel has lost a great deal of its popularity over the years. It no longer appears to be a regular on English Lit. curriculum lists. The Catcher in the Rye is squarely aimed at the adolescent demographic, and I believe that the premise of the story simply doesn't resonate with them anymore.

 

The world has evolved culturally, and the way society once related to the 'classics' has changed greatly...with a shift towards more modern 'classics'.

 

Although, I cannot believe anyone could relate to the misery of Holden. :unsure:

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I have often wondered the same, Angury. I *think* the novel has lost a great deal of its popularity over the years. It no longer appears to be a regular on English Lit. curriculum lists. The Catcher in the Rye is squarely aimed at the adolescent demographic, and I believe that the premise of the story simply doesn't resonate with them anymore.

 

The world has evolved culturally, and the way society once related to the 'classics' has changed greatly...with a shift towards more modern 'classics'.

 

Although, I cannot believe anyone could relate to the misery of Holden. :unsure:

I remember reading a review somewhere saying that Holden was depressed - I guess that explains quite a few things. I read the novel as an adolescent and I couldn't relate to it at all. I guess it's the type of novel you have to read at a certain point in your life in order for it to resonate with you. Edited by Angury

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They do say that teenagers brains are wired differently from adults (for want of a better phrase), so perhaps it does resonate most at that age when you can relate to Holden more easily?  I was in my forties before I read it, and I disliked it immensely.

Edited by chesilbeach

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Same here Claire, I was actually in my 50's and although my brain knew it was well done, my heart just didn't go along. :)

 

Just wanted to mention that Holden was actually hospitalized in the end, seemingly for depression.  So it was certainly severe enough......not the usual  teenage angst.  Which is painful enough on it's own. 

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I'm 17 and when I read it I just didn't get it. I couldn't relate to Holden and when I finished the book I was left thinking "that's it?"

 

I felt that there was no plot. No real conflict, no climax, no resolution. It was just a story without any excitement. I do not understand how this books is considered a classic. 

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I guess if you consider the fact that Holden has depression it can be read in another way. When I first read it I just assumed he was an annoying teenager. Or perhaps it is supposed to show how frustrating it can be as an outsider looking at someone suffering from depression. Or maybe it's just not a good book.. :P

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I read the book for school nearly four years ago, absolutely loved it! The deep insight in Holden's inner world was absolutely fantastic, Salinger was good in providing a psychological/phylosophical novel that goes deeper than the usual coming-of-age novel.

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I nearly gave up on it several times but I am very glad I didn't. Admittedly Holden Caulfield starts off being really irritating but he grows on you in a weird kind of way. I nearly left Psycho before the ending. Glad I didn't.

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Wow! So I have been totally mind blown with how different my perspective is on this book and have been compelled to write here and see what others think of my view point and understanding of it....

 

Firstly ill start by saying that my first impression of the narrator was not to believe everything that he is saying because within the first few pages he openly admits that he is a liar and often gives out false names, so therefore I expected nothing to be as it seems whilst reading.

 

In summary I feel that Holden is not alive.  He was depression and committed suicide and jumped out of the window as a result - the window he says James Castle jumped out of.  He is talking to us from purgatory and whilst he reflects on actual events that contributed to this, he also battles with his emotions and we are listening to his emotional and confused journey.  I came to this conclusion because of the following points:

 

  • Consistent and unusual references to "it killed me" throughout the entire book from the start - this led me to think more carefully about whether this character was actually alive.
  • There is a clear census that the character is 'depressed'.  He is very negative and never appears to be happy, only when talking to or about his younger sister.
  • His younger sister I think is actually him.  The child is 'his voice of reason' and represents him before the depression set in and clouded his judgement and character. His love for the way he used to be.
  • He touches on religion and Catholicism -  but he resists acknowledging what religion he is.
  • 'James Castle' wore Holden's black turtleneck jumper... I think this just represents the depression struggles and the burden that he felt strangled around his neck.
  • When talking to Mr Antolini - language used is "I have a feeling that you're riding for some terrible, terrible fall" "This fall i think your riding for - It's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind"
  • "The man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom" - later Holden says he would pretend to be a mute and want a deaf and mute girlfriend.... A sign to me of the lack of acceptance to the fall he took. To forever live in Purgatory.
  • "I can clearly see you dying nobly, for some highly unworthy cause" - I think this is reference to when he jumped out of the window. The characteristics of James 'standing his ground' with those boys was the same as Holden did with Maurice.  I feel Holden and James are the same person and this comment fro Mr Antolini is him trying to make Holden realise that he jumped. He then says " you're going to have to find out where you want to go. And then youve got to start going there." - referencing a choice to move on to the next life"
  • When Mr Antolini places his hand on his forehead, I think this is a memory from when Mr Antolini went to pick him up from the floor after he jumped.
  • "every time I came to the end of a block and stepped off the goddam curb, I had this feeling that I'd never get t the other side of the street. I thought I'd just go down, down, down, down and nobody'd ever see me again'.
  • "Allie don't let me disappear"
  • Finally I decided I'd go away.  I decided I'd never go home again and I'd never go away to another school. I decided I would go see Pheobe and say goodye"
  • No school today, the kid that did all the talking said.  He was lying, sure as I'm alive, the little 'person of dubious parentage''.
  • "I was the only one left in the tomb then. I sort if liked it, in a way."
  • Crucially, when saying what would make him happy he said "If a body catch a body", "I have to catch everybody if they start going over the cliff".  He says children, so i think he is reflecting on how innocent and happy he was as a child until life made him cynical and depressed, so he wants to 'save' people before they fall and 'hit the bottom'.  I also think that he beginning to regret jumping, beginning to wish someone caught him before he hit the bottom.

 

There were many more references and quotes that led me to this perspective but too many to post here. I hope you can see where I am coming from and would be fascinated to hear your point of view!

 

 

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On 1/12/2018 at 5:30 PM, Victoria C said:

I hope you can see where I am coming from and would be fascinated to hear your point of view!

 

What an incredibly insightful post. Your review makes me want to reread the novel and see the protagonist from an entirely different point of view.

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