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Friday, January 28, 2005 

My Turn?

So I hated Catcher in the Rye. I hated everything about the book. I have read it 4 or 5 times in my life and this time, I just hated it. I got sick of hearing Holden call everyone phonies, I got sick of his say, someone did this “They really did”. I hated reading a book that was written as a teenage would speak. I liked Kaycees blog about not getting the symbolism, because I just did not get it, never have, and never want to.
After all that’s been said about Holden, I would like to make another theory about him. Maybe he was just a spoiled brat. Maybe he was not held to a high enough standard. Maybe his parents were a lot of surface parenting, but when it came down to it, they sucked as parents. I look at Holden and I see a kid with a horrible attitude towards life and people. He spends so much time talking about phonies, yet I think he was the biggest phonie in the book. I think old Phoebe was the only one that he was completely true with, and even then he tried to hide some things from her. I really think that he caused most of his problems by his bad attitude. He had several teachers willing to help him, he had friends that liked him, and he had girls that were interested in him, and yet he still seemed to alienate himself a lot, if only in his head. There has been a lot said this week about this book, and I think some of the comments from yesterdays blog could be restated here, but that would waste everyone’s time, and come on, its Friday.

Having said all this I can now say it was a great book. I hated it, but I feel that old JD succeeded as an author. He envoked some kind of emotion. In me and in pretty much everyone who hass posted or commmented.

I think your theory could be right, Cam...but I think you need to take it one step futher. He is a spoiled brat...but there really is more to that story. I think as a parent, you have the responsibility to give your kids the tools to succeed and to overcome difficulties. That wasn't necessary the case for Holden.

Good post...and glad you didn't like it. ;) We gotta mix things up a bit. KIDDING! 

Posted by JP

I glad that you don't agree with everyone else. I really don't think everyone likes this book... I didn't like it at all the first time I read it, and only sort of liked it this time.

Basically I'd like to say: "Hate on, Hater." 

Posted by Kaycee

You’ve said everything here that I’ve been dying to say, but (this may surprise some) I forbore. Holden is a weenie, and it won’t do to make him the victim by blaming his parents. And adding insult to injury: because of Holden I have to put up with everybody wearing their baseball caps backwards. 

Posted by DK Landrith

Cameron ....you sound so angry....

Is there anything you need to talk about?


Posted by Sandy

I really do feel torn on the whole how to read Holden and how to feel towards him issue. And I think that is the point. Sometimes I think it is written for those of us who need to "love the hell out of people"- sometimes I think it is written so that people going through this crap realize much of it is self imposed.

Unfortunately I think a lot of teenagers who feel ticked off and alienated and hold on to Holden as a hero. Their teenage angst from their parents divorce, a parent or sibbling's death, or simply not being understoo suddenly seems not only understood, but justified and heroic.

And maybe that really is the poing. It seems as though Salinger is a bit of a Holden himself.
But then again, aren't all of us. Who of is is completely honest with every one- or really with any ony? Even when we think we are- I think a lot of the time we are holding something back, hiding something from ourselves and others.

So people love it, people hate it- can we learn something from it that we all agree on?

I think for those of us who feel like Holden (though maybe on a smaller level) the messages are likely:
-Your feelings are valid, and some one understands how you feel.
-Even so, quit being so selfish and buck up a bit
-You can't solve other people's problems, you can't keep them in the rye, you can't force people to remain in innocence- and you shouldn't want to.

to those of us dealing with the Holden's of the world:
-Love the hell out of them
-Don't let them walk all over you, treat you as a non person, or drag you down with them
-Do have patience and be loving despite standing up for youself and what is right.
-You can't feel responsible for not protecting people from themselves or doing enough- just like Holden can't catch them all in the Rye.

There were obviously other messages there- and likely some that were much more core to the story- but really I think that these are what I take as life lessons that are probabl universal and some of the more valuable things from Catcher in the Rye. 

Posted by Mike

Mike, you always make me think. Thanks 

Posted by Cameron

Don't be scared, Carrie Ann. You can do it - and we can't wait to hear what you have to say. 

Posted by Suzie Petunia

". . .and even then he tried to hide some things from her."

That made me think of a line I read somewhere (don't ask me where, I read 70+ books last year) that said something to the effect of: Adolesence is the time in our lives we think we have a big secret, when we have something to hide and if anyone finds us out they will stop loving us."

Maybe that's just where Holden was. Maybe he was just a teenager who had seen some pretty sad things, didn't have parents to show him what to do and so he bitched and moaned about all the things that were wrong with other people, but also just happened to be wrong with him.

I mean, look at the people in your life you REALLY haven't gotten along with... don't they have some charecter trait that is frighteningly similar to a trait you have? 

Posted by Sarah Marinara

To answer your last question: absolutely YES. In fact, as soon as the thought pops into my head that there is something don't like about a person, I conceed that it must be a trait I carry around myself. I usually end up becoming good friends with these people, much to my dismay.

Also, what a brilliant quote regarding adolesence. So true.  

Posted by Suzie Petunia

Very nice insight Sarah- I was talking to my roommate about this the other day about this guy he just kind of has contempt for and he said "Well, really I think it's because he's a lot like me. If I had met D-Train [our former roommate who now lives in dorms due to his job] under different circumstances I probably would have hated him."


Posted by Mike

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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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