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The Catcher in the Rye in Popular Culture

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Meghan Marsh

on 28 November 2014

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Transcript of The Catcher in the Rye in Popular Culture

By: Meghan Marsh
The Catcher in the Rye in Popular Culture
Numerous works in pop culture such as films, video games, books, comic strips, television shows, and music have reference to the novel The Catcher in the Rye.The novel also has a significant importance to many events that have happened in the past. Although the novel is linked to a number of murders and attempted murders, it has been said that the novels overall impact on society is far more positive than negative.
Films
The author of the book has refused a film adaptation of the novel many times. Although, many Hollywood films have based characters on Holden Caulfield. Holden has been said to be one of the most reproduced characters on film.
The film Chasing Amy has two connections with the novel. The first is that the main character is named Holden. In addition to his name, he also shares the qualities of Holden Caulfield. The other connection comes from his best friend in the film, who is named Banky Edwards. His name derives from Ed Banky, a coach at Pencey Prep that gives his car to athletes so they can use it to have sex with their girlfriends.
The Catcher in the Rye and Igby Goes Down are both displayed as rites of passage texts. The respective protagonists of these two texts are Igby Slocumb and Holden Caulfield. These two characters both have a journey of self-discovery in which they both attempt to find the meaning in life and understand societies values and attitudes. The two protagonists demonstrate non-conformity and rebel against the apparent hypocrisy present in their respective societies.
In the 2002 black comedy-drama film The Good Girl, the film's protagonist, Thomas "Holden" Worther, is constantly reading The Catcher in the Rye and claims that his own life parallels that of Holden Caulfield.
Video Games
In the action-adventure game Bully, the main character, Jimmy Hopkins, shares a lot of personality traits with Holden Caulfield.

In the game called first-person shooter Postal 2 , Postal Dude's wife asked the Dude to retrieve a book initialed "Catch Her in the Rye" written by B.J. Dillinger which is obviously a parody on the book and its writer, J.D. Salinger.
Comic Strips
In the comic strip Frazz, Frazz's best friend is an 8-year-old named Caulfield, who emulates the character of Holden Caulfield by always reading books that are above his grade level. He also asks odd questions in class like "If horses don't really like spurs, why do barbed wires keep them in?”
Books
The novel The Collector by John Fowles uses The Catcher in the Rye as "one of the most brilliant examples of adolescence" in popular culture. In the novel, one of the main characters encourages her kidnapper to read Catcher, thinking he might relate to Holden's alienation. However, the kidnapper finds Holden's actions unrealistic given Holden's wealth and status, and doesn't see much point in it. In the film adaptation of The Collector, this conversation and the kidnapper’s attitude toward the novel and popular culture is subdued. The novel The Collector has been linked to several serial killers.
Books
The author John David California wrote “Coming through the Rye” after The Catcher in the Rye was published. It is an unauthorized sequel in which seventy-six-year-old Holden escapes a retirement home for a journey in New York. Before and during the UK launch of this novel, it was claimed that John David California was a Swedish-American author, and presented the book as a sequel. However, when his lawyers submitted a defendants' memorandum to a federal court, it claimed that the novel is a legally protected commentary and parody of The Catcher In the Rye, and not an unauthorized sequel. An article presented views that the book is a piece of literary criticism on Salinger and his Caulfield character. In a review of the book, it was suggested that it "comes across as fan fiction," calling it "harmless nonsense" with "none of the edginess that still comes from The Catcher in the Rye."
Television Shows
The main plot for the Japanese television series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex hinges on elements from The Catcher in the Rye from which a character uses a digital logo representing Holden Caulfield. The quote "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes." is shared between both this television series and The Catcher in the Rye.
Television Shows
A South Park episode makes particular reference to The Catcher in the Rye and shows that its once controversial use of vocabulary has no impact among young readers nowadays. A fourth grade class is assigned to read the novel, which they take interest in once they hear it was only recently taken off the list of banned books. However, the boys in the class are in no way surprised by the novel's controversial content, prompting the story for the remainder of the episode: to write their own novel as vulgar and offensive as possible to get it on the banned books list. It also references its connection towards the series of high-profile assassination attempts in the 1980s, with the character Butters Stotch expressing a desire to kill John Lennon after reading the book until his father assures him that Lennon was already killed.
Television Shows
In the Family Guy episode "Jerome Is the New Black", the main character Brian is remarked upon as being fond of Caulfield as proof of his immature personality by Quagmire, who describes Caulfield as a spoiled brat. An unnamed character obsessed with "phoniness" also appears on the show, spray-painting "PHONY" on Peter's car after seeing him pretending to play a keyboard in a toy store. The character is listed as Holden Caulfield in the show's credits.
Music
The Ataris' song "If You Really Want to Hear About It" from their album End is Forever takes its title from the novel's opening sentence. The final lines paraphrase those of the book with "Don't ever tell anyone anything or else you'll wind up missing everybody.”

Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" mentions the novel as a historic item of note during his lifetime.

Green Day released a song called "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?"

Screeching Weasel released the song "I Wrote Holden Caulfield" on their 1994 album How to Make Enemies and Irritate People as a response to the Green Day song "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?"

Shootings
The most well-known event associated with The Catcher in the Rye is Mark David Chapman's shooting of John Lennon. Mark David Chapman identified with the novel's narrator to the extent that he wanted to change his name to Holden Caulfield. On the night he shot Lennon, Chapman was found with a copy of the book in which he had written "This is my statement" and signed Holden's name. Later, he read a passage from the novel to address the court during his sentencing. It was speculated that Chapman had wanted Lennon's innocence to be preserved by death, inspired by Holden's wish to preserve children's innocence despite Holden's later realization that children should be left alone.
Shootings
John Warnock Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington D.C., on March 30th 1981, as an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster. He was reported to have been driven by a fixation on her. After the attempted assassination police found The Catcher in the Rye among half a dozen other books in his hotel room.
Shootings
Robert John Bardo is an American man serving life in prison without parole after being convicted in October 1991 for the murder of American actress Rebecca Schaeffer on July 18th, 1989, whom he had stalked for three years beforehand. Bardo carried a red paperback copy of The Catcher in the Rye when he murdered her, which he tossed onto the roof of a building as he fled. He insisted that it was coincidental and that he was not emulating Mark David Chapman, who had also carried a copy with him when he shot and killed John Lennon on December 8, 1980.
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