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Catcher in the Rye Intro

Plot points, characters, symbols, historical context, quotes from readers

Katie Peterson

on 22 September 2013

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Transcript of Catcher in the Rye Intro

To understand literature, we look at...
The Art of Cather in the Rye
Bildungsroman = "Coming of Age Story"
Characters to Track:
Holden's Family members
Other boys at boarding school
Girls Holden goes out with or talks about
Holden's teachers
An "Odyssey"
Symbols to Track:
Holden's Hunting Hat
Allie's Baseball Mitt
Ducks and the pond in Central Park
Catcher in the rye
Historical Context for Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger
In the Army in WWII
Part of Invasion of Normandy in 1944
Published Catcher in 1951
America in the 1950s
What happened during World War II?
Horrors of the Holocaust--people not treating other people as human beings!
Atomic bomb:people create something with the power to DESTROY other people
"Robbed millions of young men and women of their youthful innocence"
World War I was supposed to be the "war to end all wars"--what a PHONY idea!
America began looking for peace, stability, and prosperity after World War II:
... and then came Holden!
Book about his "lousy childhood" suggests 1950s image is "phony"

BANNED BOOK: vulgar language, promiscuous behavior, sexual content HOLDEN = BAD ROLE MODEL
Holden's Influence today?
track signs and symbols of Depression
Track ideas of innocence and Experience
Pay attention to Holden's thought patterns:
hopes and Dreams
Ms. P asked 3 questions:
What do you remember about Catcher in the Rye?
What do you think of Holden?
What advice would you give Holden?
I can't believe the swearing going on... we get to read this?!
I couldn't get the image of Holden's hunting hat out of my head... why someone would want to walk around looking like Elmer Fudd?
A mannifesto for the quest to "never grow up"
My advice would be: Hang in there, Holden. In another 50 years, culture will see the world the way you do.
People are a little put off by his go-it-alone attitude... but I still admire the guy for pushing through...
I remember having the biggest crush on Holden in 10th grade... I wrote a sonnet about him, printed it out in the shape of a heart, and taped it to my English teacher's board on Valentine's Day
Dear Holden, I hope that you enjoy being a whiny, disenchanted teenager for as long as you can. Because once you are in your twenties, you just seem whiny.
Holden, you need some friends...
It was the first piece of literature I read that was truly funny... this book made me laugh out loud.
Next to Huckleberry Finn, [Holden] is probably the most iconic figure in American literature.
As an adult, and especially as a parent, my advice to Holden today would be to trust his Father's advice, to stay in school, and to be nicer to girls. Even with the dark days, life isn't so bad.
While reading it, I remember thinking he was a real snot, but at the same time I could relate with him in a way that made me feel uncomfortable -- maybe that's why I didn't like him.
I think the biggest lesson I wish I could have seen is to not get too lost in the weeds about the little things in life... and concentrate more on cultivating myself.
I remember Holden as an indeterminant pessimist. He thought things were outside of his control. The glass was half empty. It's a worldview with which one can empathize, but it's unfulfilling.
Everyone's got to find his own way. And don't be whiny.
I don't know what Holden Caufield looks like. I don't know what he smells like, or what his favorite food is. What I do know is that... I still have a huge crush on him.
Man, he really had it out for all the "phonies" out there.
Full transcript