The Catcher in the Rye – Kira

Rest in Peace

J.D. Salinger died on Wednesday, the 27th of January at the age of ninety nine. May he rest in peace. He was a great writer in my opinion. I have read two books of him: ”Nine Stories” and ”The Catcher in the Rye”. I loved both.

Salinger did not do interviews quite often, actually almost never. After the great success of his bestseller ”The Catcher in the Rye” he received much attention worldwide and he became very popular… But he did not want that at all so he moved from the big city New York to a small village, Cornish and he almost lived like a hermit. He just wanted to write, not for other people and not even for his fans, just for himself. Because that was the thing he did great in life; writing.
Salinger, who lived very remote, did not want a continuation from his book The Catcher in the Rye by an other author named Frederik Colting. He wrote ”60 Years Later: Coming Through The Rye”’ but Salinger did not agree with it at all and he accused him. What is it that Salinger was so protective about his books and his personal life? He wrote a lot while he was living remote, but he did not publish anything anymore… What was the matter? Was he just fed up with everything and everyone like Holden or was there an other reason?

So Salinger wrote The Catcher in the Rye and I have read it recently; it is a great book. The main character in the book, Holden, is a sixteen year old boy who is just kicked out of school and he is very fed up with everything. He screwed up a lot of things in his life because he doesn’t care too much about… anything actually. He is just very funny and I think I would get along with him if I would know him (and if he would exist etc.). He has my age and I really like his humour. But of course it really is about growing up and all the down side’s of it. Holden doesn’t like the ‘grown-up’ world and he thinks that no one loves him, he is sometimes a bit depressed. But at the end he finally excepts that growing up is part of life. I think that the title refers to growing up, because there is a part in the book were Holden dreams about himself standing in the rye and there are all these children who are playing peacefully and he is trying to protect them, protect them for not falling of the cliff. Because when they fall they will be dead; in the grown up world. It is a good reference.
Salinger wrote this from the perspective of an adolescent, so the language is easy and he even used a kind of street language (for in that time than); words like c’mon (come on) and ‘old’ for a name. I liked that because it makes the book not too serious, although it is a serious subject. I understand Holden in a way, because it is difficult to grow up, though he thinks a bit extreme.

Between 1961 and 1982, The Catcher in the Rye was the most censored book in high schools and libraries in the whole United States. Holden’s being a poor role model, encouragement of rebellion and promotion of drinking, smoking and lying was one of the reasons. And Salinger also swears a lot in the book (words like: goddamn and fuck). Nowadays, it is one of the most famous books of the world.

Mark David Chapman’s shooting of John Lennon, Robert John Bardo’s shooting of Rebecca Schaeffer and other murders have been associated with the book ”The Catcher in the Rye”. I found it hard to understand that you can shoot someone because you have read a book, because you have read this book in particular. I think this book has nothing to do with the shootings. What do you think? Can you shoot someone because you have read a ‘shocking’ book? It’s weird, because I found this book not shocking at all actually… But in those days it was different of course. You did not speak about the subjects Salinger wrote about, many subjects were taboo.

I have read this article in which one person who reacts to it thinks that Holden is not an sixteen year old boy but perhaps an thirty one year old man, the same age Salinger had when he wrote this book. He thinks so because Holden talks like someone who has been there already, who has seen it already. Been there, done that.
First I did not agree at all, but now I’m doubting because these are good points. And maybe the reason that Salinger sort of protects his (personages in his) books, is because they all refer to him. Could that be true?
Or is Holden just a sixteen year old boy who happened to be very intelligent?


1 Comment

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One response to “The Catcher in the Rye – Kira

  1. Dear Kira,

    What an insightful and well written post, well done. Next time make sure you leave out the rusty sentences like /Because that was the thing he did great in life; writing/ and /though he thinks a bit extreme/ next time.

    Mark: 8

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