started reading this a few days ago, and it feels perfect. sitting on the carpet in my bedroom by the fire – radiator i mean – right between mine and my sister’s bed with just the right amount of winter sunlight poking through the gap in the curtains and just the right amount of shade to add to the calmness. all in silence. not to mention it’s christmas time, i’m now sixteen, broke up for the hols last friday just like the main character, holden caulfield (except he’s never going back to his school and has a bunch of other problems too), and the outside is blanketed in snow just like in the book at times.
it’s my second time reading ‘the catcher in the rye’ and it seems to be having a much greater effect on me than it did the last time. i actually feel sorry for him at times but, then again, hate him at others. this is weird, and never happens to me (i hadn’t been much of a reader until recently!), and i always thought it was pretty silly to actually sympathise with a fictional character in a story; they’re not real! when i was doing my GCSEs i used to write all this ‘crap’ in english lit essays about how the book affects the audience and encourages them to feel for the characters – ‘the author allows the audience to see the world from the protagonist’s point of view and build anger towards the antagonist’ blah – JUST because that was what you had to do get marks. but i guess now, i sort of really understand what i was saying back then haha. oh gad, my education was awful but i won’t all the blame on them.
though i’ve really been looking for books with good use of language and holden’s is probably the most inarticulate in order to make up for all the reading i missed as a child so that i can reach normal standards of a sixteen year old’s, i have found it quite impressive the way he expresses things and don’t really mind that it isn’t too creative with its language – it’s supposed to be that way (and there’s still time)! there’s no reason why you should listen to me, but i’m going to tell you to read the book if you haven’t already.
i was really reading into the book on the internet when i came across this on the guardian website.
you can take a look yourself so that i don’t have to repeat stuff :p (and i could tell where he was coming from although i think, like any many of today’s teenagers, with all the american tv i’ve watched (which is loads) including much set in the 50s i still manage to get a good jist of caulfield’s time – i hope), it wasn’t really the article that interested me; it was the comments. i love reading them cos they’re so varied and interesting – some ignorant, some insightful. my favourite was this:
When I read ‘Catcher’ for the second time in my late twenties, it was almost a completely different book to the book I was forced to read the first time formy highers.
With the benefit of knoweldge of historical context, I think the great motif of ‘Catcher’ is loss. The major theme is how post war America dealt with the loss of a generation by focusing on the future- building and making money rather than mourning the loss of hundreds of thousands of fathers, sons, uncles, cousins etc
‘Holden’s parents refusal to allow him to attend his brothers funeral, the cover up of his classmates death by the adults, his obsession with being a ‘Catcher in the rye’-one who saves children from falling off cliffs whilst playing all reflect on a Society that couldn’t and wouldn’t face up to the gaping hole in so many families and communities. Holden’s inarticulate rage comes from society’s seeming inability to deal with this loss.
If we avoid the usual ‘catcher’ cliches of ‘teenage rebellion’ and ‘nothing much happens’, we see that at the heart of the novel is a melancholic , deeply affecting study of one Nation’s post war trauma.’
a* level interpretation right there! something i could never and will never come out with 😀