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The Catcher in the Rye

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Carolyn Barrs

on 5 February 2013

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Transcript of The Catcher in the Rye

Carolyn B. and James N. Plot Summary About the Book Date of publication: Diction Tone Setting and Function Book Review Plot: 2/5
Themes/Ideas: 5/5
Interest level: 3/5
Reading difficulty level: 2/5
Overall: 12/20 Memorable Quotes Structure and Organization of the Novel Point of View Mood The mood is dark and depressing. Throughout the book, you constantly feel pity for Holden because he is so childish and to him, it seems like he has nothing to live for because all people (except his dead brother and living sister) are "phony" in his eyes. Characters The Author Time Period/Movement Because of the sexual content and bad language within the book, a teacher was fired in 1960 for assigning the class to read it. Also, several shootings have been associated with this book, including John Lennnon's murder. After Mark David Chapman shot and killed Lennon, Chapman was arrested with his personal copy of the book. Inside, he had scribbled, "Dear Holden Caulfield, From Holden Caulfield, This is my statement." Genre: Themes Literary Devices The Catcher in the Rye J.D Salinger was born in 1919 and died in 2010. Salinger began his writing career after he took a writing class taught by Story Magazine's editor, Whit Burnett. Salinger's writing debut came in 1940, when he published a short story in Story Magazine. He continued writing until 1965 and in 1980, stepped out of the public spot light to be a recluse. Holden Caulfield Phoebe Caulfield Finding One's Place Wayward Youth Narrator and Main Character
Notoriously bad student, but excels at English
Questions society
Critical of others
Mentally scarred from his brother's death Quotes Ackley Stradlater Then, when he was taking off his tie, he asked me if I'd written his goddamn composition for him. I told him it was over on the goddamn bed. (53)
If you want to know the truth, I can't even stand ministers. The ones they've had at every school I've gone to, they have these Holy Joe voices when they start their sermons. God, I hate that. I dont see why they can't just talk in their natural voice. They sound so phony when they talk. (131) D. B. Caulfeld Low Diction Use of Slang Use of Derogatory Words Fear of Change and Loss Certain things should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know it's impossible, but it's too bad anyway. (158)
I damn near cried, it made me feel so terrible, but all I did was, I took the pieces out of the envelope and put them in my coat pocket. They weren't any good for anything, but I did't feel like throwing them away. (200) Allie's Baseball Glove You could hear Ackley snoring. Right through the goddam shower curtains you could hear him. (51)
The show wasn't as bad as some I've seen. It was on the crappy side, though. (163) Examples Every time I got started, I pictured old Sunny calling me a crumb-bum. (131)
I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me while I was all gory. (136)
So what did I do, I gave old Sally Hayes a buzz. (137)
The other end of the bar was full of flits. They weren't too flitty-looking - I mean, they didn't have their hair long or anything - but you could tell they were flits anyways. (185) Holden's younger sister
Attempts to be like her older brother
Still in grammar school
One of the few people that Holden doesn't hate Holden's older brother
Professional writer in Holywood
Never seen and only referred to, until the end of the book
Contrasts Holden's failures with academic and professional success Questioning Society Holden's roommate at Pencey
Popular jock
Seen as a perfect Pencey student
Goes on a date with a girl that Holden has liked
Holden attempts to fight him Holden's floor mate at Pencey
Notorious liar
Terrible hygiene
Terrible houseguest
Invites himself over at random times Quotes All he did was keep talking in this very monotomous voice about some babe he was supposed to have had sexual intercourse with the summer before. He'd already told me about it a hundred times. Every time he told it, it was different. (49)
That guy had just about everything. Sinus trouble, pimples, lousy teeth, halitosis, crumby fingernails. You had to feel a little sorry for the crazy sunovabitch. (51) Quotes "God damn it, you always do everything backasswards. No wonder you're flunking the Hell out of here. You don't do one damn thing the way you're supposed to." (53)
He was all through combing his hair and patting it and all, so he left. Like Stradlater. All these handsome guys are the same. When they're done combing their goddam hair, they beat it on you. (198) One of the objects Holden carries with him at all times
Has poems written on it, written by Allie, in green marker
Holden writes an English report on it under Stradlater's name, and believes that is one of the most important things he has Throughout the novel, Holden performs legal and illegal actions not thought af as age appropriate for a teenager like:
Hiring a prostitute
Sneaking into nightclubs
Smoking and drinking
Getting into a fight with a pimp -The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
-Nine Stories:

-Franny and Zooey (1961) A Perfect Day for Bananafish (1948)
Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut (1948)
Just Before the War with the Eskimos (1948)
The Laughing Man (1949)
Down at the Dinghy (1949)
For Esmé – with Love and Squalor(1950)
Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes (1951)
De Daumier-Smith's Blue Period (1952)
Teddy" (1953) Books: July 16, 1951 The book was written after the second world war, so it is technically considered modern literature. However, during the 1950's, they had a stricter idea of what was considered appropriate. During the era in which Salinger wrote the book, it was considered inappropriate to mention things like sex. However, now we look at Salinger's subject matter as completely appropriate. Historical Background Bildungsroman Holden Caulfield gets kicked out of Pencey prep for failing his classes
Holden's roommate, Stradelater goes on a date with Jane Gallagher (a girl who Holden used to have a crush on).
After Stradelater gets back from his date, Holden and him get in a fight.
Houlden then decides to leave Pencey early and spend a few days in New York City alone until he has to go home
Holden checks into the Edmont hotel. There, he brings a prostitute up to his room but just ends up wanting to talk to her. However, her pimp still beats him up for not paying enough
He checks out of his hotel and he makes a date with his old friend Sally. When they meet up, he goes crazy and stirs up a plot for them to run away together. When she refuses to run away with him, he gets angry.
He then goes to visit his sister Phoebe at his parents house while they are away. In an effort to avoid his parents, he stays with his former teacher. While he is sleeping, his teacher makes sexual advances towards him, so he leaves.
He decides to run away, but when Phoebe wants to go with him, Holden decides not to go. The reader sees the world through the eyes of Holden. So, the tone of the book is sad, depressing, hopeless, and you get a feeling of disgust with people in general. This is expressed in a form that is reminiscent of a story being told verbally to the reader. "That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and beautiful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking somebody will sneak up and write "F you" right under your nose." (264) "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf- mutes. That way I wouldn't have to have any of those stupid goddam useless conversations with anybody."(257) While James and I enjoyed the ideas that Salinger brought up and the themes he presented, we found the plot line of The Catcher in the Rye to be uninteresting. "All I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddam Maurice. It's funny. Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing them." (277) First Person Limited
Holden narrates
Past tense
Speaks to the reader as if he is writing an informal letter, explaining about his adventure Example Text I couldn't even stick around to hear old Ernie play something halfway decent. But I certainly wasn't going to sit down at a table with old Lillian Simmons and that Navy guy and be bored to death. (114)
That's all I'm going to tell about. I could probably tell you what I did after I went home, and how I got sick and all, and what school I'm supposed to go to next fall, after I get out of here, but I don't feel like it. (276) Setting The story is set in a time period roughly around the fifties, and in New York City. The city is filled with vice and crime, with few laws enforced, as seen in Holden's descriptions of bars and his ability to hire a prostitute as soon as he enters a hotel. Holden makes reference to how not long ago, his brother D.B. was in the army fighing in the European Theatre, hinting at the time period. Function The setting puts the teenage Holden in situations that would be considered fit for an adult. This provides for the novel a reputation as an inappropriate novel for the time period it was written. It also allows the story to be about a kid going through adult situations. Allie Caulfield In the novel, Holden goes on a journey for no discernable reason, and contemplates what his purpose is. He has points where he descides to leave the city and his life behind, to find a place where he is left alone. Holden's deceased younger brother
Died of Leukemia before the book began
Had a baseball mitt that Holden now holds close to him
Adds to Holden's depression, becuase he hasn't come to terms with his death
Holden describes him as being a perfect younger sibling Quotes Holden's depression takes on a form of hatred towards others and the established media. He constantly refers to people around him as being 'phony' or 'fake,' believes that Hollywood is a waste of his brother D.B.'s talents, and goes on an internal monologue about his criticism of modern religion Holden uses slang found in the late forties and early fifties. The slang is both derogatory or descriptive in some cases. Holden uses low diction to describe the situations that he is in, often using foul language and slang that was present in the 1940's and 50's. You'd have liked him. He was two years younger than I was, but he was about fifty times as intelligent. (49)
I was only thirteen and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don't blame them. I really don't. I slept in the garage when he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. (50)
Every time I'd get to the end of the block I'd make believe I was talking to my brother Allie. I'd say to him, "Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Please, Allie." (257) "Where do the ducks go?" I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over. I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something. Or if they just flew away. (18)
"What's different about it? Nothin's different about it," Horwitz said. Everything he said, he sounded sore about something. "It's tougher for the fish, the winter and all, than it is for the ducks, for Chrissake. Use your head, for Chrissake." (107-108) The story is told in past tense, and is almost a framed narrative. The modern-day Holden is in some sort of rehabilitation clinic after his adventure, and is assumed to be getting treatment for what is most likely depression. The story is cut in by random bursts of thought, with Holden going on tangents about people, places, or past events. Frame Narrative The novel begins with Holden being treated in a mental institution, with his romp through the city being a few months in the past. This allows Holden to give details that ahow he has reflected upon the events that transpired. Quotes "Stop swearing. All right, name something else. Name something you'd like to be. Like a scientist. Or a lawyer or something." (233)
I wished old Phoebe was around. She's not little enough to go stark staring mad in the toy department, but she enjoys horsing around and looking at the people. (256) Quotes He's got a lot of dough, now. He didn't use to. He used to be just a regular writer, when he was home. He wrote this terrific book of short stories, The Secret Goldfish, in case you never heard of him. (4)
D. B. isn't as bad as the rest of them, but he keeps asking me a lot of questions, too. He drove over last Saturday with this English babe that's in the new picture he's writing. (276) Hatred of Everyday Life "I hate living in New York and all. Taxicabs, and the Madison Avenue buses, with all the drivers and all always yelling at you to to get out at the rear door and being introduced to phony guys and going up and down in elevators when you just want to go outside" (169). Holden views the boys at his school, the girls he knows, and his school as phony and actually admits to hating all of them. The Glorification of Youth Holden describes his dead brother and his little sister, Phoebe as completely perfect.
Also, when he realized someone had written the F word in Phoebe's school hallway, he wanted to catch up with the person who wrote it and, "smash his head on the stone steps till he was good and goddam dead and bloody" (261). Symbolism Allusion The book's title is an allusion to Robert Burn's poem, "Comin thro' the rye." His poem describes a young girl struggling to make it through the rye with her petticoat on. This translates to Holden's struggle through the journey of life. Holden's diction is lowered and he casually swears throughout the novel. He does this as if he is simply talking to a friend, or someone that he feels he can relax around. Examples Mr. Antolini Holden's old English teacher
Holden respects Mr. Antolini unlike other educators mentioned in the novel
Mr. Antolini listens to Holden's problems and treats him like an adult, to the point of offering him cigarettes
Seems to be an alcoholic
While drunk, attempts to sexually harass Holden while he is asleep Quotes All old Mr. Antolini had was another highball, though. He makes them very strong, too, you could tell. He may be an alcoholic if he doesn't watch his step (241)
"This fall I think you're 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. He just keeps falling and falling." (243)
What it was, it was Mr. Antolini's hand. What he was doing was, he was sitting on the floor right next to the couch, in the dark and all, and he was sort of petting me or patting me on the goddam head. (249)
All he said was that business about me being a "very, very strange boy" again. Then he waited in the doorway and all till the goddam elevator came. (251) Maurice and Sunny A pimp and his prostitute, respectively
Holden calls for Sunny, and instead of normal business, simply talks to her
Holden later gets in an altercation with Maurice over how much he owes him Quotes When I opened the door, this prostitute was standing there. She had a polo coat on, and no hat. She was sort of a blonde, but you could tell she dyed her hair. She wasn't any old bag, though. (122)
"Go ahead. Yell your goddam head off. Fine," old Maurice said. "Want your parents to know you spent the night with a whore? High-class kid like you?" (134) Stream of Consciousness Stream of consciousness writing is a form that includes interjections by the narrator as part of the story, which breaks up the continuity and allows the reader to get a feel the emotions of the narrator. Example After I got packed, I sort of counted my dough. I don't remember exactly how much I had, but I was pretty loaded. My grandmother'd just sent me a wad about a week before. I have this grandmother that's quite lavish with her dough. She doesn't have all her marbles anymore - she's old as hell - and she keeps sending me money for my birthday about four times a year. Anyways, I was pretty loaded, I figured I could always use a few extra bucks. (67) Mr. Spencer Holden's History teacher at Pencey
Lectures Holden about how he needs to change his attitude at the beginning of the book
Contrasts Mr. Antolini by being hard, and not soft, on Holden and his decisions Quotes "Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that once plays according to the rules." (12)
All of a sudden then, I wanted to get the hell out of the room. I could feel a terrific lecture going on. I didn't mind the idea so much, but I didn't feel like being lectured to and smell Vicks Nose Drops and look at old Spencer in his pajamas and bathrobe all at the same time. (14)
"I'd like to put some sense in that head of yours, boy. I'm trying to help you. I'm trying to help you, if I can." (20) Jane Gallagher Holden's past love interest
The only true romantic relationship he was ever in
Goes on a date with Stradlater
Holden remembers specific details about her, unlike others
Has her in the back of his mind during his romp through the city, and later calls her, but gets no answer Quotes "She wouldn't move any of her kings. What she'd do, when she get a king, she wouldn't move it. She'd just leave it in the back row. She'd get them all lined up in the back row. Then she'd never use them." (41)
"You don't even know if her name is Jane or Jean, ya goddam moron!" (57)
Then I thought of giving Jane Gallagher's mother a buzz, and find out when Jane's vacation started, but I didn't feel like it. (77) Carl Luce An old friend of Holden's
They used to go to the same school
Notorious for being vulgar
Remembered by Holden for his talks about sex
Acts like an intellectual who left all of his childish past behind, unlike Holden Minor Characters Two Unnamed Nuns: lead Holden to a story about how he watched a classmate, James Castle, commit suicide while wearing his borrowed clothes
Bernice: a woman who Holden dances with at a nightclub, and who he analyzes from her dancing form to her ability as a conversationalist
"Jim Steele": Holden's fake name as he introduces himself to Sunny
Sally Hayes: a girl Holden goes on a date with, but doesn't enjoy. He then has an emotional breakdown and attempts to get her to run away from the city with him Quotes The reason I was asking was because he really knew quite a bit about sex and all. He was one of the few guys I knew that did. He lost his virginity when he was fourteen, in Nantucket. He really did. (189)
"I simply happen to find Eastern philosophy more satisfactory than Western. Since you ask." (190)
Old Luce. He was strictly a pain in the ass, but he certainly had a good vocabulary. He had that largest vocabulary of any boy at Whooton when I was there. They gave us a test. (193) This is shown when Holden desperately asked the cab driver, “You know those ducks in that lagoon right near central park south? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks when it gets all frozen over?”(78). This quote shows that similar to how ducks fly south for the winter, Holden wants to run away from the world he sees as phony. The Ducks in the Lagoon Symbolize Escape The Mummies and Learning At the beginning and at the end of the novel, Holden comes into contact with the mummies of Egypt, and how they were wrapped. He first writes an essay about them, stating that even in modern times, the process isn't fully known. This essay is one paragraph long and causes him to flunk History at Pencey. Later, he explains fact this to two young kids at a museum, showing that even through his flunking of Pencey, he has picked up some knowledge from those around him, contrary to what should be. Review Questions 1) What kind of story is the novel? A) Frame Narrative
B) Fictional Narrative
C) Fractional Narrative
D) Frame Book 2) Who was shot because of this novel? A) Elvis Presley
B) Ringo Starr
C) John Lennon
D) John F. Kennedy 3) Which character tried to sexually assult Holden? A) Mr. Andrews
B) Mr. Tortellini
C) Mr. Antolini
D) Mr. Arnold 4) Where does Holden go on his adventure? A) Chicago
B) Los Angeles
C) Mumbai
D) New York City 5) What DOESN'T Holden do while in New York City? A) Hires a prostitute
B) Joins a gang
C) Fights a pimp
D) Illegally buys alcohol 6) Who wrote the novel? A) Jerry Rowlandson
B) D. J. Salinger
C) Pablo Picasso
D) J.D. Salinger Comparisons With Other Areas The seedy underbelly of New York City contrasts other areas in the novel, such as the rural Pencey Prep, in such a way that New York City allows Holden to experience whatever he wants, whenever he wants. This kind of freedom is obviously different then the freedom allowed in a sterile school setting.
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