The Catcher in the Rye - Holden Caufield- view of the world (page 16) Showing 1-50 of 62
How and Why We Read: Crash Course English Literature #1
Holden Caulfield: Egotistical Whiner or Melancholy Boy Genius?
THERE are some strange discrepancies between the way most of us want our children to grow up and the books we give them to read while they are doing it. We want them to grow into a responsible adult frame of mind, to grow in confidence, to look outward at the work to be done and the fights to be fought; not to regard themselves as victims of a biological dirty trick, not to make a new allegiance, a kind of Third World Nation, out of adolescence. They have certainly achieved a peculiar immortality, a paperback immortality: endlessly reprinted, by the hundreds of thousands, in short-lived copies - disposable classics. The old symbol of the classic, a treasured volume handed down from reader to reader, generation to generation, has given way to a new and perhaps appropriate symbol, the now-book, carefully presented to a new generation as indistinguishable from the newest works. But at the outset these four works were obviously not intended as adolescent classics. All were published between and as ordinary trade books for adults.
Is he misunderstood? Is he relevant to youth today? Does it matter, if it has meant something to generations of readers? Do we only like it because our parents did? Why do we talk about it so much more than Nine Stories , which is objectively superior? If nothing else, we can all at least agree that Holden Caulfield is still though decreasingly a cultural touchstone in this country, in part because parents keep giving the book to their children and in part because so many students are still required to read it in school. The critics, much like the population at large, do not come to much of a consensus.
It felt like my copy, though, because like zillions of other people, I read the book and thought, Man, that guy really gets it. Not J. Salinger, although I guess he did, too, but Holden Caulfield.
Click the character infographic to download. Oh, Holden. The problem? All he wants to do is connect with someone— anyone —but the boy has high standards. Impossibly high standards.