Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Catcher in the Rye

At the casual reccomendation of a friend Pelkyi, I dived in to get "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D Salinger.
Stricken with a serious stomach abnormality, i was bed-ridden for a whole day, and that was when I cruised through the pages of the book. Wasnt that much sure, at the beginning, as why the book is so acclaimed, but I went on with greater intellecutal curiosity and reading it critically. What seemed to be ordinary story of a teenager's rebellious nature, alienation and angst for belonging has a surprising and profound lesson and revealation only when you get to the two third of the book. After you turned the last pages of 277 long pages , then I realize, the book is truly a gem, a master piece!!!.

The book is about a" madman stuff  that happened to him during last Christmas:"

Holden is depressed, because he sees everything so phony and pretentious to his eyes. He is flunked in many of the subjects including Oral Expression course and schools give him the ax (expulsion). As a teenagers, there is a conflict of raging hormone in him and the relationship issues with his peers.

The book has good sense of humour with  very sutble philosophical message.  The title of the book is derived from a song, and the author revealed the title of the book in a monologue in a response to what he is good at doing.  His family ridiculed him for good at nothing, for not interested or liking for any thing. and here comes his exposition: that also revealed the title of the book.

“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.”

The book highlights the importance of reading; and I really feel like the author has that quality of what he himself has described it:

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.”

yes, it happens to me, I feel like the book is not only entertaining, it is  the gospel  for tons of teenagers, who have a run-down of the things.  Who feel at a loss, and directionless in life. This book in nonpreaching way helps them to realize the reality of life, and how to think thins through...

Here are the lines that he offered to those crumby loosy youngsters, some well meanted  advice is offered to him, and those who are flunking subjects  who keeping failing in schools:

 "once you have a fair idea of where you want to go, your first move will be to apply yourself in school. You will have to . You're a student---whethere the idea appeals to you or not. You're in love with knowledge.....
Once you get past all the Mr. Vinsons Oral compossion, you are going to start getting closer and closer-that is , if you want to, and if you look for it and wait for it- to the kind of information that will be very ,very dear to your heart..Among other things , you will find that  you are not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behaviour. You are by no means alone on that score, you will be excited and stimulated to know.   Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. you will learn from them --- if you want to". Just some day, if you something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And itsnt education. it is history. it is poetry." p 246

Mr. Antolini ,who Holden looks up to as a  smart and intelligent,keeps on sharing more on the virtues of acamdeic education :

"Something else an academic education will do for you. If you go along with it any considerable distance, it will begin to give you an idea what size mind you have. What it will fit and maybe, what it wont. After a while, you will have an idea what kind of thoughts your particular size mind should be wearing. For one thing, it may save you an extraondirary amount of time trying on ideas that dont suit you, arent becoming to you. You will begin to know your true measurements and dress your mind accordingly."(p.247)

As Holden, who couldnt withand and want to do something crazy, like running away and with suicidal thoughts. For that Mr. Antolini, fittly quated
psychoanayst Wilelm Stekel said

" 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."p.244

Action speaks louder than words. All the adult's advise, and lecturing, seems to be doing little to him.  Holden is saved by his little sister Old Phoebe by her unpretentious love, and genuine love for him. Her uncomprosing attitude to run away with him  melt him, that killed him. And the story has a happy ending with the the main character finally have a tremendous sense of joy welled up in him.

 " I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth. I dont know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around..."

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