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Sunday, January 30, 2005 

“Holden” to your Horses!

So, Catcher in the Rye was really all about female suppression in communist China…wasn’t it? I can’t believe none of you GOT that! But, really… everything worth saying about this classic has been said, right?

As today’s guest blogger, and as someone who has read every “jot and tittle” written about Catcher in the Rye this week…I thought a re-cap (with a purpose) would be in order. Besides…who doesn’t love reading what they have written? I promise…there IS a point.

“Of course (Jerry) writes for himself, we all write for ourselves, but I believe he stopped writing for the same reason that he started writing… to gain notoriety.”


“At last I understood. I understood what I missed before because of the last two lines in the book. ‘Don’t tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.’… I know what it is like to miss people so much it can drive you crazy, because somehow, in some cosmic way they own a part of you.”

-Sarah Marinara

“I don’t get literary symbolism… What I think is that the way Holden feels about other people is the way he really feels about himself…” (And Kaycee thought she didn’t “get” symbolism…)


“Holden just can’t take it anymore… His imagery of catching all the children (in the rye) so they didn’t get hurt or lost is very touching. In my opinion, that’s what kept him going…That vision, if you will, saw him through. Maybe that’s Salinger’s image of hope.”


“So I hated Catcher in the Rye…Maybe (Holden) was just a spoiled brat. Maybe he was not held to a high enough standard…I hated it, but I feel that old JD succeeded as an author. He evoked some kind of emotion.”


“I just want to give the “phonies” a chance to be understood today… While Holden disparages the traits of the “phonies” he himself is literally running around town lying, charming, and manipulating… he sees younger children as innocent and ‘real’… youth angst… They are stuck in the middle; betrayed by both worlds… Holden is a peacemaker at heart… Next time I see him, I’m just going to say “hi” and see where it goes from there…”

-Carrie Ann

What more could I say?

This is the first time I’ve read Catcher. If someone were to ask the inevitable question, “So, did you like the book?” this is what I would answer. There is a reason this book is a “classic”, and it’s not because it’s a joy to read. It’s depressing and mostly sad, and the teenage boy first-person narrative often digresses for pages and pages, leaving you wondering where it could possibly take you of significance. The point is…it doesn’t. Therein lies the genius of JD Salinger’s writing. The ramblings of Holden and his misadventures takes us inside the world that most of us could never otherwise understand.

If I could have one super-power it would be the ability to think and feel inside someone else’s heart and mind. This is why I love to read. And this is why I like this book. In my life I’ve been promised that I’ve been blessed with a deep feeling and sensitivity for others. But most of the time I don’t feel like I do. I wish I could do away with all misunderstandings and hurt feelings in the world. How many people have true intentions to do others harm? With the exception of the obvious perpetrators: probably not as many as we think. If we did away with pretenses and misunderstandings, how different would our lives be? How much more understanding, tolerance and empathy would we have?

I love conversation, but novels and blogging are better for the reasons I just mentioned. Writing is a medium where we, just like Holden, can be heard and understood as we truly are. That is, if we allow ourselves…AND if someone is reading. That’s why we all love to get receive numerous comments in our blogs . “Someone IS out there who understands me, right?”

Holden (all of the “Holdens” out there), I hear you! As irritating, irrational, or mentally ill as you may be…I am trying to understand you! Until I get my superhero power…I’m giving it my best shot.

And as I’ve pulled quotes from the contributors of VSoM…I think they demonstrate that everyone here has tried to do the same. We’re on our way to world peace.

(Or is it “whirled peas”?)

Posted by Guest Blogger: Suzie Petunia from "Suzie's Petunias"

Well said, Suzie. I am and am not suprised at our various reactions. We have all handled Holden rather well, we have been sympathetic, understanding, and even strict. I tend to think that this book was written for two audiences: the young people who see Holden as a secret friend, and for the adults to give them a look into how phony young people think they are. I have loved reading and wirting about this book from an adult perspective. I just wish I could contrast it with how I felt as a youth closer to Holden as a peer.

Are you sure you would want that super power? Aren't there just some people you LOVE to hate? Knowing their thoughts and feelings would ruin all the fun...:) 

Posted by Carrie Ann

It's true; Catcher in the Rye is not a book I would call my "favorite," but definitly a book I value. After reading it, I think I see more "Holden's." This book reminds, and almost dares me to see people differently.  

Posted by Star

I echo the "not a book I love, but a book I value" stance.

I really like what you had to say about it Suzie, but even more, I like the way you said it. 

Posted by Kaycee

Ditto. It is not one of the books that I would love to read over and over (yes, I do that) but I'm so very glad that I FINALLY read it. I enjoyed and appreciated the words of Salinger...and Holden.

Great post Miss Suzie Petunia...I hope you join us again. ;) 

Posted by JP

I find it interesting that this IS a book people read over and over and over. I have a few books I read annually (or more), but this would not be one of them. I can see myself reading it again in a couple years, but not with the consistancy and reverance some people read it with.

Great post Suzie! 

Posted by Sarah Marinara

This has been a book I have read over and over and over again, but I think this time was my last. I think I can put it to rest for life for me. I have seen Holden through my youth eyes and my adult eyes and I don't like him anymore. I feel for him, but I don't like him.

What a great ending to the week. Thanks for the blog Suzie. 

Posted by Rebecca

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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