I know I might be retarded for asking this, but what the hell do people get out of this book that makes it a "classic of American literature".
To me it just looks like coming of age story #54663, but where the author is really good at writing as an annoying teenager.
Captures the post-war youth and mindlessness of the the death and change plagued plagued society which evolves as fast as Holden's life, and in which people cannot remain innocent and stick to the old ways, just like Holden cannot remain innocent and childlike.
And yes, he knows how to write like an edgy kid.
Despite his brief stint in a psychiatric hospital and crippled hand, Holden later signs up for the Army and dies on D-Day.
The author landed on Utah Beach and liberated one of the death camps.
The book is about the death of America's sense of innocence in the 1940s.
It presents the adolescent mindset perfectly IMO. Holden criticizes everything while failing to notice the contradictions in his own character. He hates swearwords being scribbled on school walls but doesn't like it when the girl he's dancing with asks him to stop cussing, for example. Above all he's a sensitive, confused young man who resents the fact his childhood is over. It doesn't offer the solution that "love conquers all" or that you just have to accept it in the end and move on. It presents a young man who really doesn't feel he has what it takes to exist. The eskimo at the museum is still there after all those years, in the same position fishing over the ice lake. Holden has changed however, and he longs to be in the position of genuine innocence (rather than his moody, desperate innocence) which his sister and others (and the two boys at the museum, and the rollerblading girl, and the boy singing Catcher in the Rye) occupy for real. He knows he can't cling to this innocence for long. He already comprehends the seedier aspects of life which experience and self-awareness have granted him. He realizes that the song which serves as the title is itself not an innocent pastoral tune but a euphemism for sex. He realizes that many of the people he likes have been mistreated and that only his innocence prevented him from appreciating the sad reality. His favorite teacher will soon die. Jane Gallagher is probably being misused by her step-father and by Stadlater. He got to know Jane in the summer, his most lucid memory of Allie is one summer when he watched him playing baseball, he met his Princeton buddy over summer, his friendship with Louis Shaney begins when they share stories about their summers. Now it's cold and snow is everywhere. The fundamental question of the book is where do ducks go when they are forced out of the lake where they've spent their warmer months? The only real "optimistic" aspect of the story is the fact that the carousel still functions in winter, even if Holden's appreciation of it is now detached.
>He realizes that the song which serves as the title is itself not an innocent pastoral tune but a euphemism for sex.
I think he doesn't. I think he fails to see that, because he's still inexperienced about sex.
He's inexperienced but he isn't naive. He knows what's going on at the jazz club with the couple he meets, he knows about Stadlater's sexual conquests and about the other guys at Pencey going with girls. He just doesn't understand it. It's partly why he freaks out when Antolini touches him. He fondly remembers Antolini touching another guy from Pencey, the Castle kid who commits sudoku who Antolini covers with a coat, feels his pulse and carries to the infirmary. But now he suspects everyone of having sinister motives. I mean why would Holden agree to have a prostitute delivered to his room if he was totally naive about ess eee ex? He just doesn't get it. He figures it's part of adulthood but when it comes to the point to "initiatie" himself he just wants to talk to the girl. The reason he likes the song so much now is because he envies and longs for the state of innocence that allows the kid to hear it as a simple, catchy tune rather than a euphemism for a world he really doesn't like all that much.
Exactly, he only knows the theory somewhat.
I've always thought the song only triggered his idea to be the catcher in the broad sense -- to save them from experience, whatever it may be; but I've never though that he understood it as a metaphor for sex, which would highlight his lack of experience with it.
You've changed my mind, though. I agree with you now.
I can do that for anything.
>Kike on a stick
>Saves the world
Great Christian literature ladies and gentlemen.
>Unstable psycho is power hungry
Great English poetry ladies and gentlemen.
Fuck off mate.
Maybe because coming of age is something 75% of people don't fucking do and nobody teaches people to grow up. Only the smart can get there by themeselves and even to them, people who are socially isolated, can feel the greatness of a shared, i.e. not isolated, experience.
Society is juvenile, so do not question why great literature baout "juvenile" topics is regarded as great.
If you want "serious" books go read philosphy. They tackle the real problems. Literature only skims at them.
But alas you'll go there and not understand a word then at the same time call cather in the rye immature and silly even though you only got like half of it too.
Nine stories. My nigga. God. I forgot the title, but that one where the lady's old husband died in the war and she remarried, stuck with a kid she doesnt connect to, and knows she'll never be happy again in her life. Damn underrated masterpiece
I don't see it as a work about adolescence so much as a work about someone whose mind is pregnant with notions about the validity of deeds, instead of with notions of acquisition.
I'd compare it with an Australian comedy, 'The Castle'... the home, or castle in that context is entirely aspirational, not acquisitional. It doesn't matter if the home is renovated or not. The purpose of the castle is to meditate on the aspirational quality of he home. This Australian view is in contradistinction to Franz Kafka's 'Castle', which is entirely focused on the world of bureaucratic inventory, and not on human aspirations. So the Australian self-definition is situated in a different, more human mode from the Americans and Astro-Hungarians.
That's what Caulfield is aiming at. He wants the aspirational elements of a living Republic, and not the more falsely acquisitive facets of a Democracy. If that makes sense. The ducks in spring represent a culture, while those same ducks living in the midst of the winter months represent those of us who are living in the midst of a civilization. He doesn't know how to exorcize his soul, and so to "catch those in the rye" is his own vision of how one might maintain a living culture indefinitely.
It's the prototype for a Scorsese film. Also, the molesting of his sister. That's not a joke. 'It just looks like a coming of age story'...? Have you read it? It's hilarious. Holden's a lying maniac.
Here's your fedora.
Your katana is waiting for you at /toy/.