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J D Salinger / The Catcher In The Rye Discussion Thread [merged]

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J D Salinger / The Catcher In The Rye Discussion Thread [merged]

Old 06-24-02, 08:51 PM
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The Catcher In The Rye Discussion Thread

So I'm 3/4 of the way through this book and I'm still expecting something dramatic to happen.

Something that wraps everything up and makes sense out of Holden Caulfield's ramblings so far.

But I've enjoyed what I've read. It's like reading someone's 1946 journal.

And I get a bang out of that. I really do.
Old 06-24-02, 11:58 PM
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This was one of the easiest books I ever had to read in my high school career. Wait, no; that honor is reserved for Terry Pratchett's Small Gods.

I really liked Catcher in the Rye; while I'm not an illiterate who mindlessly rejects anything that has words harder than "misogynist", one of the things I liked about Catcher was its accessibility. And the fact that on the surface, it's not really about anything. Like you said, it reads like a guy's 1946 journal. I wouldn't want to set you up for disappointment, so let me tell you - there's no dramatic shift in tone near the end of the novel; Holden doesn't get murdered by drug-addled pimps or anything . Although I did think it wrapped up nicely for a book without a plot. While I wouldn't call any of Salinger's prose beautiful (he is imitating the style of a teenager, after all, and is a bit more than workmanlike for that reason), there are some poignant moments that are very well done.

There is one scene that I found unbearably creepy, though. I wonder if you'll have the same reaction when you get there...
Old 06-25-02, 11:41 AM
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Just finished it yesterday. It's been on my mind since. I like Holden. And I can identify with some of the feelings he struggles with.

And the book actually does have a plot. But not the traditional kind - it's more about his emotional trek than what he actually does.
Old 06-26-02, 12:38 PM
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So...

Spoiler:


would Holden have run away if not for his little sister Pheobe?

Or was his plan to leave just a passing thought?

Old 06-26-02, 01:02 PM
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Hmm... I dunno if that is the case. Holden is a very fickle person, and also prone to exaggerate. However, in the last case, I felt he really was going to do it - he seems more confident about this than anything else, except the fact that everyone else is a phony. However, he did want to meet Phoebe one last time, and he knew how she would react, so maybe he wasn't really adamant on leaving after all....
Old 06-26-02, 01:13 PM
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Originally posted by RolloTomasi
Hmm... I dunno if that is the case. Holden is a very fickle person, and also prone to exaggerate. However, in the last case, I felt he really was going to do it - he seems more confident about this than anything else, except the fact that everyone else is a phony. However, he did want to meet Phoebe one last time, and he knew how she would react, so maybe he wasn't really adamant on leaving after all....
I'm still not sure if he would have left. But his time spent with Phoebe seems very important because for him she is the opposite of phony. She's innocent, honest, optimistic. Things that he wasn't able to find elsewhere.

So maybe she at least helps nudge him out of his depression by the end of the story.
Old 06-26-02, 03:39 PM
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I found this book to be amazing. I thought every character just came to life off of the pages, even the ones we never actually meet. I think everyone can see someone they know or maybe a little bit of themselves in all of the characters. I was just never lucky enough to give some girl "the business" in the back of Ed Banky's car. I heard the book is written in the style it is becuase Holden is actually telling all this to a therapist. Has anyone else ever heard that theory?
Old 06-26-02, 08:52 PM
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Anyone who posts on DVDTalk is a phony.
Old 06-26-02, 11:40 PM
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Originally posted by Lewsiv
I heard the book is written in the style it is becuase Holden is actually telling all this to a therapist. Has anyone else ever heard that theory?
I think my high school English teacher told us that after we were finished reading it.

It's a really good book, in fact, I like it so much that I have hundreds of copies of it stored around my house.
Old 06-27-02, 12:14 AM
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Originally posted by silentbob007
Anyone who posts on DVDTalk is a phony.
And there are those on DVDTalk who believe that everyone else is a phony.
Old 07-02-02, 10:44 AM
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I just finished this 2 nights ago and enjoyed it. I really like Holden Caulfield just because he was such a cynical, hypocritical jerk. Its nice not to have a bubbly, bright protagonist. I guess I just gravitate toward those characters...Darl Bundren, Hamlet, Holden Caulfield, TS Garp, and Sula Peace are some of my favorites.

I expected the same thing: some big bang of an ending. But the way it tapered off was a good ending. People tell me its a coming-of-age story, but I have trouble buying that. He's still the same character in the end so what did he come to? I agree with the idea that he wasn't really going to leave. Holden was a lot of talk.
Old 07-14-02, 11:50 AM
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Am I the only one who really disliked this book? I was expecting/wanting some sort of journey for Holden... but basically, he just wanders around, and stuff happens to him, and he's unchanged by it all. I felt a real lack of progress, which I guess is not necessary for a book or its characters, but it's something I look for, I guess.
Old 07-14-02, 02:02 PM
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Yeah, I felt the same way in a sense, but unlike you, I still enjoyed it. It suits well with 20th century literature.
Old 07-14-02, 11:00 PM
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Originally posted by Static Cling
Am I the only one who really disliked this book? I was expecting/wanting some sort of journey for Holden... but basically, he just wanders around, and stuff happens to him, and he's unchanged by it all. I felt a real lack of progress, which I guess is not necessary for a book or its characters, but it's something I look for, I guess.
No, you're not the only one. I read the book when I was 23 (32 years ago, BTW) and I found it utterly worthless. I could not have cared less about Holden.

Maybe I should have read it when I was 12 like everyone else.
Old 07-15-02, 05:03 PM
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Or 19. I hope that wasn't some sort of insult.
Old 07-15-02, 05:16 PM
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Originally posted by fallow
Or 19. I hope that wasn't some sort of insult.
It wasn't meant as an insult. I just know a lot of people who read it around their junior high years and they all liked it.

And BTW, I like Hamlet and Garp. I haven't read your other two examples.
Old 07-15-02, 10:55 PM
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Okay, I just didn't know if you were saying something about maturity or something. Its cool.

Darl Bundren is from Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" and Sula Peace is from Toni Morrison's "Sula."
Old 07-16-02, 02:11 PM
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Originally posted by Static Cling
Am I the only one who really disliked this book? I was expecting/wanting some sort of journey for Holden... but basically, he just wanders around, and stuff happens to him, and he's unchanged by it all. I felt a real lack of progress, which I guess is not necessary for a book or its characters, but it's something I look for, I guess.
It's an anti book book, imo. But for some reason it didn't bother me. I think because it's an interesting few days that Caulfield spends in New York.

I wondered if the author was trying to make a point about traditional stories with their character arcs and plot developments being phony.

And Caulfield's messy, un-structured emotional struggle being real.

Just a thought.
Old 07-16-02, 07:00 PM
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Originally posted by movielib

No, you're not the only one. I read the book when I was 23 (32 years ago, BTW) and I found it utterly worthless. I could not have cared less about Holden.

Maybe I should have read it when I was 12 like everyone else.
Well I read it when I was 13 and I thought it was pretentious stank....but that's just me
Old 07-18-02, 09:01 AM
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Originally posted by Static Cling
Am I the only one who really disliked this book? I was expecting/wanting some sort of journey for Holden... but basically, he just wanders around, and stuff happens to him, and he's unchanged by it all. I felt a real lack of progress, which I guess is not necessary for a book or its characters, but it's something I look for, I guess.
I got to the end and I said, "That's it!?" I was still waiting for something to happen or some resolution.

Last edited by Alvis; 07-18-02 at 03:11 PM.
Old 07-18-02, 07:02 PM
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I had to read this for an English class in high school. I couldn't fully enjoy it at the time because I disliked Holden Caulfield so much. Despite being so full of piss and vinegar, I think he is one of the most developed characters in any book I've read. I think I need re-visit this book because my thoughts grow fonder as I think back to it.
Old 07-20-02, 02:58 PM
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Originally posted by Alvis


I got to the end and I said, "That's it!?" I was still waiting for something to happen or some resolution.
Yep, exactly. I was pretty unsatisfied.
Old 07-21-02, 05:44 PM
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Anyone read any of Salinger's other work? Most of his other stuff is centered around a family of geniuses in NYC between the 30s-50s. (the Glass stories were pretty big influences on The Royal Tenebaums). The Actual books are called Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction, and Nine Stories, plus a few stories in the New Yorker.

I really like Salinger's style of prose in Glass stories, more so than in Catcher in the Rye. Franny and Zooey can be tough to get through and it is full of religion/mysticism, so it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is my favorite Salinger book. For first timers, I'd suggest reading Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters.
Old 07-21-02, 06:33 PM
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Originally posted by Hari Seldon
Anyone read any of Salinger's other work? Most of his other stuff is centered around a family of geniuses in NYC between the 30s-50s. (the Glass stories were pretty big influences on The Royal Tenebaums). The Actual books are called Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction, and Nine Stories, plus a few stories in the New Yorker.

I really like Salinger's style of prose in Glass stories, more so than in Catcher in the Rye. Franny and Zooey can be tough to get through and it is full of religion/mysticism, so it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is my favorite Salinger book. For first timers, I'd suggest reading Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters.
I read the complete Salinger book output in one week back in 1970 because a woman I was going out with (only a couple of dates actually) loved him and wanted me to read him. I hated each and every book.

After we discussed the books on our next date, we never saw each other again.
Old 07-23-02, 03:17 AM
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Originally posted by movielib

I read the complete Salinger book output in one week back in 1970 because a woman I was going out with (only a couple of dates actually) loved him and wanted me to read him. I hated each and every book.

After we discussed the books on our next date, we never saw each other again.
It could have been worse. I know a lady that read Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason for a guy she was courting. Must have worked though, they've been married almost forty years.

I read a couple of books in a David Eddings fantasy series for a high school girlfriend, didn't do anything for me. Too bad you didn't Salinger, but if everyone had the same tastes we'd all read a generic hardcover with the word "Book" stamped on it in big, government cheese letters.

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