|22nd March 2002 - Page 4|
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE
A BAD DAY IN SCHOOL
The Catcher in the Rye is a narrative by Holden Caulfield, a seventeen year old who is addressing the reader directly from a mental hospital in southern California. He wants to tell us about the events that took place over a two-day period the previous December. Typically he first digresses to mention his older brother D.B, whom he calls a terrific short story writer but now has sold out and writes scripts in Hollywood. The rest of the story follows after this, and it is in the form of a long flashback constructed through Holden's memory.
Holden begins at Pencey Prep, an exclusive private school in Pennsylvania, on a Saturday afternoon of the traditional football game with the rival school, Saxon Hall. Holden misses the game. Manager of the schools fencing team, he managed to lose the team equipment on the subway that morning, resulting in the cancellation of the match in New York. He is on his way to the home of his history teacher, Mr. Spencer, to say goodbye. Holden has been expelled and is not to return after Christmas break, which begins on Wednesday.
Monday morning Holden arranges to meet Phoebe for lunch. He plans to say goodbye and head west where he plans to live as a deaf mute. She insists on leaving with him, and he finally agrees to stay. Holden's story ends with Phoebe riding a carrousel in the rain as Holden watches.
In the final chapter, Holden is at the sanitarium in California. He doesn't want to tell the reader any more and infact, the whole story has only made him miss people, even the jerks.
J.D. Salinger was born on New Years day in 1919 in New York. Like most of his central characters, J.D. Salinger lived in the relative comfort of the upper middle class. As a child he was reported to be quiet, polite, somewhat solitary child and in college he wrote a column in the college newspaper on humour and satire. He is known today as a recluse and has rarely given any interviews. He lives in the US and not much is known about his life today.
The unusual thing about 'The Catcher in the Rye' is its staying power. It continues to appeal to people. Firstly this is because it is superbly written. J.D. Salinger captures the vernacular of the Prep school adolescent of all times. Secondly, it is because it appeals to the young, the young at heart, the dreamers of succeeding generations and various cultures. This gives it universality or its staying power.
The Catcher in the Rye is one of my all time favourite books. I feel as though it catches the essence of a lost adolescent trying to find his place in the world of grown ups. It is about a teenage boy trying to act like an adult but not having the maturity to fend for himself. This book is a modern classic if there ever was one and every teenager should read this book.
|One day, when I lost my homework,
And I missed the bus.
The teacher was real mad at me,
And then the day got worse.
I missed my goal on the football field,
I was feeling very drowsy.
I couldn't do the test at all,
My artwork came out lousy.
Finally, when I got back home,
I sat with Nash, my dog.
I told him about everything,
And fell asleep, like a log.
He licked my face, and woke me up
And tried to get me going.
But I was still too tuckered out,
And soon I got back to snoring.
Next day when I got up I found,
That everything was well
And as for my new day at school,
I really turned out swell!
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