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Catcher In The Rye

I read it again, the first time I was 13, after 21 years I still find it amusing.

It's 2 days of Holden Coalfield life, wondering around in NY, after he is kicked out of school, for the third time.

The story happens after WWII, so he is as old as my grandfather.

And that's the most amazing thing in it, how each generation understood his troubles and worries and loneliness, yet there are such a gap between them.

What did you find in common with Holden?

"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."

It kills me.

LordVoldemort LordVoldemort 36-40, F 26 Responses Nov 21, 2009

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I read Catcher in the Rye when I was a junior in high school. It wasn't a required read in my accelerated class. It was one that I kept hearing of and decided to give it a shot and I read it in two days.

My initial thoughts of it were strange. Some of the things I had to really sit and think about. Like Holden, I didn't try hard in school. I made lousy grades. I smoked cigarettes often. I drank with older kids; trying anything to "fit" in. But that's a pretty general way in which all adolescents can relate to Holden at sixteen.

It wasn't until l took a trip to New York City last summer when I realized the true "alienation" theme of Catcher in the Rye.

I can't quite pinpoint all the emotions I was feeling when I was alone in that big city but I can tell you that's when Holden and I clicked. I'm sure if I read the story again and listen to what he says about walking alone at night in New York, I will nod and agree.

Holden acted like a typical kid at his age, thinking he's had all the answers, but the event that changed his way of thinking was the death of his little brother. He repeatedly mentioned that he feared disappearing and that people are phonies; I think he feels the aforementioned death was not acknowledged fully, at least by the rest of the world. Holden fears disappearing when he crosses the street, as its an common action committed by countless people countless times; the lesson is that death comes to us all at the most inopportune times and without warning. He fears loss, both of himself and of others. The phonies, in his view, are those who pretend to grieve, but are too busy with their own lives to stop and appreciate the fragility of life itself. That's the only way I ever connected with Holden and why Catcher in the Rye remains one of my favorite and most read books (e.g. my dog-eared copy with missing cover). I don't want to be forgotten when I'm gone; if we don't make an impression when we leave, did we ever really live?

@ Sage: Thank you very much for the suggestion, I'll check it out

I read this funny book by Frank Portman called King Dork. The main character, the dork, a teenage boy, hates Catcher in the Rye because he keeps having to read it for school. Not that I hate it, I just think it was a funny perspective. <br />
I think you have good taste!

@ MrKiwi: thank you for the great comment. I have not read Vernon God Little, but I'll check it out, thanks

@ squiggle fish: thank you for the great comment, and taking part in the discussion<br />
<br />
@ tar crunch: I haven't heard that album, maybe I'll look it up, thanks

guns n roses... well axl rose has a song catcher in the rye... the song is good, and really overall chinese democracy is a good album

@ squiggle fish: wells spoken

@ squiggle fish: I read ii the summer before I go to high school, so I guess I have to say I didn't read it in high school as well, and I totally agree with you, it is a must read<br />
<br />
@ ferry fairy: it does show the problems and how we don't fit, but he is a writer so he can't offer solution, he has experienced the problem and all he could do was pointing out his own sufferings.<br />
<br />
@ star crunch: it is not fancy, that's why I like to believe it is what it says and there are no metaphors or things like that

yeah it was pretty much the only book I read in school that wasn't trying to be "fancy" with it's narrative and dialogue.. that stood out to me more then curse words

After reading this book twice, I'm unsure about how I feel about it. The first time I kept thinking about how I could relate to Holden, but the second time it worried me because although I, as well as many other people, can see myself in him, he obviously doesn't fit successfully into the society he's critiquing. Salinger shows us what's wrong in the world but provides no example of how to cope.

@ Jophiel: being a troubles teenager once, I completely get the phony concept,<br />
<br />
it's not adulthood, it's being pretentious and untrue, doing things you don't believe just to look popular,<br />
<br />
Actually it's my favorite part of the book,

SK: I love that quote, humility equals maturity. Thanks, for adding the quote LV.<br />
The phony concept I have tried to understand. Perhaps society, peer pressure to conform it is a theme that dominates his novels.<br />
It's insincerity. That's all. It has been used unwisely,<br />
anyone who is cultured/cultivated a phony. Kids use that<br />
phrase countless times.<br />
Be true to yourself.<br />
There is a bitterness I found in his writing, can you elaborate LV?<br />
<br />
When we are working our behaviour is to conform, (unless we desire the sack!) But at home we are relaxed and comfortable. Just a point I would mention.

@ Elyce: It is, though it talks about teenager and their problems!<br />
<br />
My name is taken from Harry Potter, so many may use it, I am not in any other sites<br />
thanks for the comment

@ softkittie: I love the quotes in it as well, they are so true, and I always find something new in it as well

"Catcher in the Rye" is timeless. I read it almost 50 years ago. Your name is familiar. I think I've seen it on other sites-----

I love the quote in book , <br />
<br />
It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to....<br />
<br />
its so true ..<br />
<br />
I have read this book several times and always come away loving something new about it

Great explanation, I didn't get the analogy, and the hat as the metaphor, Wow! you are good.<br />
<br />
I didn't see it that way, I think he never changed, like Salinger himself, never going after fame and popularity.<br />
<br />
And there are intelligent adults in this book, ones that Holden admire.

in Holden's case he's "the catcher" for the kids playing to close to the precipice which is possibly an analogy for the "fall" into adulthood... <br />
and him transferring the role of "catcher" to pheobe, giving her his hat... it's pretty sad the relinquishing himself to that of "popularity rule"<br />
<br />
when I first read it I thought that he died

@ star crunch: the phony people are every where, not just grown ups, but attention seeking people, those trying to follow the popularity rule.<br />
<br />
As he is amazed how Jane likes popular guys, though she knows they are phony and stupid.<br />
<br />
I think phony people are the main problem here

I've read this book several times... when I was 13 my mother gave it to me to read... and at 17 I had to read it for school<br />
and a couple of years ago I decided to pick it up after reading some other Salinger books... Franny and Zoe and some other one relating to that family<br />
<br />
I always related to Holden's disdain for "phonies" he comments on various people being fake throughout the book... and thought that the inevitable acceptance for them is a metaphor for adulthood<br />
<br />
some of us just never make it

@ Haddock: it is<br />
<br />
@ Bugsy: me too<br />
<br />
@ Lucas arts: I love his reasoning, simple yet very true<br />
<br />
@ Eric: me to, I love to die nobly for a cause, immaturity rocks

Call me the immature man. <br />
<br />
Death and a cause always beats life for a average. Essentially that is what humble means as it pertains to someones life.

I mean how do you know what you're going to do till you do it? The answer is, you don't.

I love this book

It is a great book,