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Wolf Frankula

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Posted by Wolf Frankula | Sat Jun 28, 2014, 07:13 PM (6 replies)

A Thought About Catcher In the Rye

I read it years ago and thought "What a whining shit this Holden Caulfield is." I hold to that. The biggest 'phony' in the book is Holden Caulfield. And I'm not the first to say that, I'm probably the millionth. And it is that book was intended to be part of a series, each titled after a baseball position and a grain, "The Pitcher in the Wheat", "The First Baseman in the Oats", the "Second Baseman in the Barley", "The Third Baseman in the Quinoa", "The Shortstop in the Rice", "The Left Fielder in the Spelt", "The Center Fielder in the Corn", and "The Right Fielder in the Millet". But after finishing Catcher in the Rye, Salinger decided that he had said all he had to say, and decided to shut down. A wise thing that other writers could emulate.

But in my opinion, and as far as I can discern, this book is popular because J.D. Salinger's character is the FIRST teenager in literature to talk the way teenagers actually talk. That is the reason for its popularity among the young. Everybody who went to high school in the 40's and 50's knew a self absorbed shit like Holden Caulfield. He's real. He sweats real sweat and farts real farts. Contrast him to other literary teens, Andy Hardy, Penrod, the kids in Our Town and so on. How prettied up they seem. How fake they seem. Their 'Golly, gosh, gee's fade before a single 'damn' from Holden Caulfield.

Salinger freed writers to describe teenagers as they 'are', not as they 'should be'.

Posted by Wolf Frankula | Sat May 31, 2014, 10:15 PM (14 replies)
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