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The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger

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Rosi Löwe

on 1 March 2015

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Transcript of The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger

*1. January 1919, NYC
† 27. January 2010, Cornish

father: Solomon Salinger (Polish-Jewish)
mother: Miriam (Scots-Irish)
Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne
joined the US-Army
1946: "Slight Rebellion Off Madison"
1951: "The Catcher in the Rye"
1.1 J. D. Salinger

1. General Facts
1.1 J. D. Salinger
1.2 Content

2. About the Book
2.1 Character Constellation
2.2 Holden Caulfield
2.3 Conflicts

3. Topics
3.1 Self-inflicted loneliness
3.2 Phoniness of Adult World

4. American School System

5. Reviews
5.1 Positive Reviews
5.2 Negative Reviews

6. Sources

2.1. Character Constellation
1.2 Content

- frame story in form of a flashback
- 2-day period in the previous december
The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
2.2 Holden Caulfield
16 years old
tall: 1,89 meter
partially gray-haired
smokes a lot -> out of shape / poor health
Character traits:
attitude towards woman -> mature
bad at studying
violent (outbreaks)
depressed -> physical impacts
3.1 Self-inflicted loneliness
3.2 Phoniness of the Adult World
5.1 Positive Reviews
'The Catcher in the Rye certainly wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, however I find it an exciting and compelling read, with a gallon of brutal reality poured in along with some humour, contrasting with moments of depression.'
'It is fascinating, a true inspiration. Holden is so complex that you can't stop thinking about him when you're not reading. Salinger's amazing insights into human nature and his clever style of cynicism is unique to much of literature and better than all contemporary literature. As Holden starts to spiral down, you can't help but feel incredibly sad thinking about his situation. A boy, on the brink of breakdown, speaking of things that make so much sense. It makes you wonder if he's the one going crazy or if it's the way society is that is truly crazy.'
''Catcher in the Rye' portrayed the suffering and alienation of an otherwise privileged, middle-class young man long before such a theme became fashionable.
Holden Caulfield is an utterly convincing character who is not reaching out from the pages and trying to grab our sympathy. He presents Caulfield's state of mind in a simple, lucid narrative. As a result, this novel is very effective in examining timeless questions about the nature of happiness and the conflict between the individual and society. There is also a compelling honesty in Salinger's writing that makes Caulfield so believable that I frequently forget he is a fictional character.'
5.2 Negative Reviews
'What in the hell classifies this as a masterpiece???? It was nothing but boring drivel, about a pompous obnoxious spoiled little rich kid who hates school and everyone in his life but his little sister, his writer-brother and his dead brother. I kept reading to find anything interesting on the pages, it was just monotonous...Obviously, Salinger thought his IQ was too high for anyone else around him, yet, there was no plot, no suspense, no activity really, just his malingering thoughts about everything and everyone. It was a complete WASTE OF MY TIME!!!'

'Maybe there's some deeper meaning I missed while reading the book, but in my opinion, deep meanings mean nothing when it's covered by a boring story. Holden is completely unlikable; cursing every other page and saying the same phrases over and over (Phonies, goddamn phonies I'm not kidding!). I don't mind cursing, but when "Goddamn" is the only adjective Holden knows of, it gets repetitive. Maybe I wasn't born in the right time to fully enjoy it, but when something is regarded as a "Classic", then I think it should be able to entertain readers regardless of age.'

'The book as a whole is disappointing, and not merely because it is a reworking of a theme that one begins to suspect must obsess the author. Holden Caulfield, the main character who tells his own story, is an extraordinary portrait, but there is too much of him. In any case he is so completely self-centered that the other characters who wander through the bookwith the notable exception of his sister Phoebe—have nothing like his authenticity.'

picture material:
'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
them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye. [...]' (p.191)
- Pencey prep school in Pennsylvania
- train ride
- hotel room in Edmont Hotel
- Lavender room in Edmont Hotel
- Ernie's Jazz Club
- hotel room in Edmont Hotel
- Central Park
- Biltmore Hotel
- Radio City
- Wicker Bar in Seton Hotel
- Lagoon in Central Park
- family apartment
- Mr. Antolinis apartment
- Central Park
- zoo
- went home and got "sick" -> but optimistic about future
- seeks for companionship
BUT: interactions confuse and overwhelm him
- distances himself from others -> excluded from world around him
-> alienation as a form of self-protection
- source of strength and security
- source of problems and pain

-> needs human contact he shies away from
- novel about protagonist who resists the process of growing up
- reasons: - fears changes/
- scared of adulthood
-> invented fantasy: childhood = idyllic field of rye
adulthood = death
- Holden searches with lots of energy for phoniness
- he judges with black-and-white standards
-> but world is not so simple
4. American School System
2.3 Conflicts
Full transcript