Thursday, September 5, 2013

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Boy, that goddamn killed me!

Reading is never an easy thing. Surprisingly I still find that there are books that are laboriously... fatal. It killed me, it really did.

Now, where the hell do I goddamn start? I'm obviously done with the use of profanities.Some things are just not good enough, certainly not with the use of profanities in this case. The concluding paragraph on chapter seven for instance has this:

"When I was all set to go, when I had my bags and all, I stood for a while next to the stairs and took a last look down the goddam corridor. I was sort of crying. I don't know why. I put my red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way I liked it, and then I yelled at the top of my goddam voice, "Sleep tight, ya morons!" I'll bet I woke up every bastard on the whole floor. Then I got the hell out. Some stupid guy had thrown peanut shells all over the stairs, and I damn near broke my crazy neck."

How can Holden be so irritatingly inconsistent of a character and yet at the same time be so annoyingly repetitive. In hindsight it actually is of no surprise, it is rather a perfectly unfortunate complement.

If "Holden was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it,"(as an antihero who decidely hated phonies, he hated this world) still if this is what he considers one of the things he labels a phony, it is contradictorily funny, at best and at worst, is an ironic manifestation of the hypocrite that he is, seeing that he has this decisive use for the word ugly. More than anything that merits of a hypocrite label is how well and how much he lies saying "he could go for hours" (as he showed on the train with his schoolmate's mother). A condescending and rather conceited reason he has for lying is that he hates explaining things to people, thinking that it's easier to lie than to explain the truth to people. Holden Caulfield is not really self-aware that is to say, he can't see that he himself is a phony.

Laden with inconsistencies, I got the feeling that I was reading a book with a child that was not depressed in any meaning of the word, but who is rather a child with a savant syndrome.

Page 38:

"My brother Allie had this left-handed fielder's mitt. He was left-handed."

Holden was repetitively stupid.

If the point of the anti-hero is to annoy, then it did succeed, too well, far to well that I absolutely hated Holden.

A lot of people loved, venerated and labelled this book a classic. Some say the reason they do so is that, God forbid, they identify with Holden and in that process, it changed their lives. This is not surprising for Holden is, without any discernible difficulty, the book itself. I however recommend that rather than fraternizing with Holden, one should seek a cathartic outburst, and if failure still lingers, nothing beats employing professional help.

Lest some incomparably emotionally attached reader lambast me and do educate me that all I've been talking about is Holden and not the book, and I do, to some extent acknowledge that, here then is my leverage.

The book actually had barely any plot at all. This is precisely what I meant when I said that I toiled and labored going through this book. I would gratify at the fact that I could be rectified concerning this point. Adding to such disposition, the stream-of-consciousness narration writing style in the book did not help at all (n.b. most YA novels proliferate under such school).

For all that is now between me and this book, I too have to acknowledge the fact that Salinger wrote this at the end of WWII, an anti-hero theme which gave light to the themes of teenage angst and alienation in a world that the youth are nothing but alienated, in a world that precisely needed it.

A clear undeniable precursor of things to come.

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