Jan 30, 2013

The Catcher in the Rye

Okay, so I haven't written in a while, and I'm so sorry! I've been at the beach, working on my paleness and all, and singing... so. Here are the books I've read recently:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Hamlet & Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Question: What book was the inspiration for at least four homicidal maniacs, including one who shot and killed the Beatles' John Lennon and another who attempted an assassination on Ronald Reagan.?
Answer: The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye, was rapidly bought by the thousands and spurred up a craze in the youths of America whom saw the speaker of the novel, Holden Caufield, to be a hero and very similar to each of them. A movie was made that featured the novel (Conspiracy Theory) and several homicidal people said or implied that the novel inspired their bloodthirst. What are the chances of such a harmless seeming book drawing so many avid and manical readers?

The novel is written through the voice of Holden Caufield, a 16 year old adolescent who just got kicked out of his fourth preperatory school. He goes through a series of events in which he often complains about people's attitudes, and contiually deals with the hard topic of his brother's early death. He eventually basically has a mental breakdown, in front of his sister no less, in which the famed quote comes into play:

“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.”

- Holden Caufield, The Catcher in the Rye

Holden misinterprets, and misquotes, the line in the poem he speaks of (Robert Burns, look it up!) - the quote actually says "if a body meet a body" not "catch a body," lending the poem a more casual voice, rather than a heroic form. Through attempting to be everyone else's savior, Holden damns himself to a life of searching for himself (which is essentially what is done through all his adventures during the novel). His first-person narration ends with him revealing that he'll be going to yet another new school in the fall, and leaves the reader wondering if he's going to be okay...?

Though I personally did not enjoy The Catcher in the Rye all that much, I know tons of other people who did. I'll give it a 7 on the "ADDICTING SCALE," as homage to rebellion, breakdowns, and philosophical teenage angst.

More to come soon!