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Catcher in the Rye Manifesto

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Catcher in the Rye Manifesto

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  • November 4, 2014
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Catcher In The Rye is my favorite book. I have read it more than any other work of literature, and Im a literature major. I have read classic upon classic, but no other work has captured me the way Catcher has managed to. In the light of J.D. Salingers death many of my friends have, upon my recommendation, endeavored to read the famous work. To my dismay, most have returned with the response, I dont get it, or I cant say I liked it, and perhaps I should have given them forewarning. Catcher is not in any way a feel good book. The result after reading it is not a sense of satisfaction. In fact, it leaves the reader feeling somewhat the same way the main character, Holden, ends up, which is a bit broken and confused, unsure of the future and what to make of it all. In the end Holden is in a Psychiatric facility where a psychoanalyst asks him if hes going to apply himself when he goes back to school. Holdens response is, Its such a stupid question, in my opinion. I mean how do you know what youre going to do until you do it This single line sums up the entire feel of the book. Holden doesnt know what he will do, what he wants to do, he is perpetually at a loss to his place in the world. The story does not follow the traditional fiction arch either. This arch seeks to move a character or situation from one state to another - to effect change, basically where the story builds to a dramatic high note and resolves in a nice tidy bow. Actually, the story is remarkably one note. It is not really a story in any The Art of Fiction sort of way it is what I would call simply...a moment. It is a tale of a sixteen-year-old boy, who despite his status being white, male, strait, sophisticated, and rich, does not fit into the 1950s world around him. From the very beginning Holden is cast as the wanderer, the loner, an isolated individual. He has been kicked out of yet another school, and does not yet belong at home. The setting of the story is what happens when a young boy is...
Catcher In The Rye is my favorite book. I have read it more than any other work of literature, and
Im a literature major. I have read classic upon classic, but no other work has captured me the way
Catcher has managed to. In the light of J.D. Salingers death many of my friends have, upon my
recommendation, endeavored to read the famous work. To my dismay, most have returned with the
response, I dont get it, or I cant say I liked it, and perhaps I should have given them forewarning.
Catcher is not in any way a feel good book. The result after reading it is not a sense of satisfaction.
In fact, it leaves the reader feeling somewhat the same way the main character, Holden, ends up,
which is a bit broken and confused, unsure of the future and what to make of it all. In the end Holden
is in a Psychiatric facility where a psychoanalyst asks him if hes going to apply himself when he
goes back to school. Holdens response is, Its such a stupid question, in my opinion. I mean how do
you know what youre going to do until you do it This single line sums up the entire feel of the book.
Holden doesnt know what he will do, what he wants to do, he is perpetually at a loss to his place in
the world. The story does not follow the traditional fiction arch either. This arch seeks to move a
character or situation from one state to another - to effect change, basically where the story builds to
a dramatic high note and resolves in a nice tidy bow. Actually, the story is remarkably one note. It is
not really a story in any The Art of Fiction sort of way it is what I would call simply...a moment. It is a
tale of a sixteen-year-old boy, who despite his status being white, male, strait, sophisticated, and
rich, does not fit into the 1950s world around him. From the very beginning Holden is cast as the
wanderer, the loner, an isolated individual. He has been kicked out of yet another school, and does
not yet belong at home. The setting of the story is what happens when a young boy is cast off into
the world and left to his own devices with no responsibility and no attachments. Holdens character
is complex, and the reader develops a sort of love hate relationship with him. On one hand he lies,
uses foul language, gets poor grades, is sometimes irrational, and on the other hand he is sensitive,
smart, cares for others, respects women, and seeks to preserve innocence. While some may call
him an unreliable narrator, one cannot help but share in his particular view of the world. When
reading Catcher you feel as if youre in on the real story. Its a unique relationship the reader has with
Holden. Its as if you are getting to read his journal. He shares everything, not just telling you what he
does, but what he really thinks. He tells you all the stuff nobody ever says out loud. He tells you the
truth of how he sees things, and in that there is credibility. There are other reasons the book holds
appeal for me, and so many others. The spirit of the book is much the same as the American Spirit,
young, defiant, truth loving. It is a modern version of Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn. Holdens character
also appeals to people because he is able to rebel and get away with it, in a way that in reality, most
of us feel we never could. Part of the appeal is the fantasy of being a rebel with out a cause. A
reviewer has described the book as Emotional without being sentimental, dramatic without being
melodramatic, and honest without simply being obscene. Holden is confused about his place in the
large scheme of things and continues to speak to and for those who feel the same way. Basically
the summary is you have a kid, who is unhappy with life and the way the world works, and he
doesnt really know why, but he knows he doesnt really fit in. He doesnt really care about the things
other people care about football games, school, or the future. He sees these things as trivial, but its
what the world says is important. So, what do you do if youre the person who cant care about what
other people tell you is important Holden lives in the moment - good moments, bad moments, he just
takes them as they come. He admits that sometimes he just does things on impulse, and he doesnt
know why he does them, other than it seemed like a good idea at the time. Part of the reason
people find Holdens character unappealing is that he often lies to those around him, but most often
he lies to protect people, to protect the delusions they have of the world. For example, the woman
on the bus Mrs. Morrow, whose son Ernie went to school at Pencey. Holden thinks her son is
doubtless the biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey, but he tells Mrs. Morrow what a great guy
her son is, and makes up a whole flattering tale about Ernie. Another example is with his history
professor Mr. Spencer. The whole scene is Holden sitting in Spencers home, being talked to by the
professor about his poor academic performance. Holden tells the reader things like I had to sit there
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