Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

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Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby ssbookyu123 » Sun May 24, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

I once had to read Catcher in the Rye for high school and I hated it so I read it again and still not that big of a fan. Can anyone plaese help me try to make an arguement for this book beacause I don't like hating books.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby sje46 » Sun May 24, 2009 9:41 pm UTC

ssbookyu123 wrote:I once had to read Catcher in the Rye for high school and I hated it so I read it again and still not that big of a fan. Can anyone plaese help me try to make an arguement for this book beacause I don't like hating books.

=/
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That's the only thing I can think of. You and Chai Kovsky should get together and talk about how much you hate the book and leave us normal people alone.
I would recommend maybe sparknotes to understand the themes of the novel if you do want help for your illness.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Vieto » Sun May 24, 2009 9:46 pm UTC

I tried to read catcher in the rye about a month ago. I got little more than halfway before I just couldn't pick the book up any more (figuratively).

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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby monkandmovies13 » Sun May 24, 2009 10:21 pm UTC

Catcher in the Rye is definitely one of those love it/ hate it books. I happen to love it, but I don't think people are strange when they react negatively to it. I think that there's a little bit of Holden in all of us, and he represents a lot of different qualities that we all have. And the most difficult part of this is that he doesn't always evoke sympathy. Sometimes he can be incredibly annoying and judgmental, which isn't very attractive. I have a theory that people who don't like it either know someone too much like him, are particularly sensitive the the bad qualities that Holden has, or are uncomfortable with the fact that they can see a lot of themselves in him. He's at once a very unique and very universal character, and I don't think he's the type of person who can, or should, be loved by everyone. I feel like someone could probably base some really interesting, accurate personality test based on one's reaction to the book.

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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Vaniver » Sun May 24, 2009 10:24 pm UTC

The book is about someone who can't motivate himself properly, and his dislikes. You either empathize with him, or just wish he would shut the hell up. So, no, there's nothing wrong with not liking the book.

(I had no strong feelings towards the book, but didn't particularly like Holden. There were a few parts of the book I liked quite a bit, though.)
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Fledermen64 » Mon May 25, 2009 2:12 am UTC

I stabbed the book with a pencil until I had gotten entirely through the book and began stabbing table. (Not kidding). Part of it had to do with it being forced for me to read. (I hate being told I have to read something. Easiest way to get me to dislike a book.) And part of it had to do with me just never caring about the character. The most horrible ungodly fate could have befallen him at any point in the story and I just would not have given a shit. I would have welcomed it in fact if it made the book shorter. That's the only bad thing that sticks out, there were others but I read it 6-7 years ago and have forgotten.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby sje46 » Mon May 25, 2009 2:33 am UTC

Fledermen64 wrote:I stabbed the book with a pencil until I had gotten entirely through the book and began stabbing table. (Not kidding). Part of it had to do with it being forced for me to read. (I hate being told I have to read something. Easiest way to get me to dislike a book.) And part of it had to do with me just never caring about the character. The most horrible ungodly fate could have befallen him at any point in the story and I just would not have given a shit. I would have welcomed it in fact if it made the book shorter. That's the only bad thing that sticks out, there were others but I read it 6-7 years ago and have forgotten.

Well, then you're a psycho who has anger management issues. At least give the book to someone else.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Vieto » Mon May 25, 2009 3:11 am UTC

Really, I thought the main character was really... not the sharpest tool in the shed. To paraphrase one part: "Oh, I was told to do an essay on a house, but I disregarded that completely and did it on a baseball mitt. I wonder why he is angry at me... He must hate me for no reason. Yes, that must be it. His fault, not mine."
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Mon May 25, 2009 3:18 am UTC

sje46 wrote:You're a fool?
That's the only thing I can think of. You and Chai Kovsky should get together and talk about how much you hate the book and leave us normal people alone.
I would recommend maybe sparknotes to understand the themes of the novel if you do want help for your illness.
But as it is, please stay away from me. I don't know if sick, twisted foolhardiness is contagious.



^ That. That is what made me go from simply disliking the book to hating it. It's pretentious, preachy, pedantic fans. The book is about a total unlikable douchebag who whines about phonies, therefore proving that he is the biggest phony of all. It's not that deep. It's not that revolutionary. There are far better books with unreliable narrators - 'Crime and Punishment', for example. I would have been much happier if Raskolnikov had crossed his book boundary and killed Holden too, because Holden struck me as a total waste of paper.

I could have been satisfied just saying 'No, I didn't really care for the book. It's probably because Salinger and I don't mesh', but the endless sermons from the fans... Get it through your head: not liking Catcher in the Rye doesn't mean the person didn't understand it. They probably did, and still decided that Holden Caulfield is one of the least likable characters in any book ever written, and the book is highly overrated. Good day, sir.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby sje46 » Mon May 25, 2009 3:22 am UTC

NOT COOL NOT FUNNY NOT A GOOD REVIEW.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby justaman » Mon May 25, 2009 3:46 am UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:^ That. That is what made me go from simply disliking the book to hating it. It's pretentious, preachy, pedantic fans. The book is about a total unlikable douchebag who whines about phonies, therefore proving that he is the biggest phony of all. It's not that deep. It's not that revolutionary. There are far better books with unreliable narrators - 'Crime and Punishment', for example. I would have been much happier if Raskolnikov had crossed his book boundary and killed Holden too, because Holden struck me as a total waste of paper.
I could have been satisfied just saying 'No, I didn't really care for the book. It's probably because Salinger and I don't mesh', but the endless sermons from the fans... Get it through your head: not liking Catcher in the Rye doesn't mean the person didn't understand it. They probably did, and still decided that Holden Caulfield is one of the least likable characters in any book ever written, and the book is highly overrated. Good day, sir.

I think Holden was made to be annoying deliberately, he is just explaining things from his point of view, and seeing as he is an annoying whingy teenager, that is what he comes across as. Personally, I liked the book, thought it read well and pretty cool, but then I wasn't forced to read it for school. The reason you weren't forced to read Crime and Punishment is that it is by a Russian author, instead of an American and you were probably in an ENGLISH class.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby sje46 » Mon May 25, 2009 3:57 am UTC

The book is about a total unlikable douchebag who whines about phonies, therefore proving that he is the biggest phony of all.
Also, that is the point.
You're not supposed to like the character. You are supposed to empathize with him. He is a douche, an annoying person, and incredibly immature. This is the point.
And I don't know who are the legions of fans are. =/
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Mon May 25, 2009 4:09 am UTC

I was never forced to read it - I read it on my own time. I understand I was supposed to empathize with him, but I didn't. He wasn't just ignorant and annoying. He was wilfully ignorant and deliberately annoying. I know it is the point: I just couldn't bring myself to care. There are lots of unlikable people in literature, but usually they have some sort of redeeming quality. Hell, my favorite books are Catch-22 and Gone With the Wind. Both are absolutely bursting with delectably hateful people. Maybe it's because neither is written in first person, and none of the characters force you to listen to their every inane thought.

Also... I'm an English teacher (next year, after I get my license). I'd rather assign my students to read Crime and Punishment than Catcher in the Rye. I think it's a far more mentally improving work and has more merit.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby eekmeep » Mon May 25, 2009 7:18 am UTC

[useless post] I read this book in Jr. high (not required reading). I liked it. A couple years later someone compared me to Holden. I wasn't offended. I don't currently remember enough of the book to know if I should have been offended or not, and I don't recall the reading experience enough to know if I was justified in liking it or not (I like most books -- there are very few that I have actively disliked). I think I need to re-read this book. [/useless post]
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby zombiefeynman » Mon May 25, 2009 3:27 pm UTC

I hereby join the ranks of those who don't like the book.

Holden is supposed to be a reflection of the teenage angst, repression, finding-your-way and coming-of-age bits in life, right? We're supposed to identify with him and say "yeah, that's me!" We're supposed to acknowledge that he's a jerk and wish he wasn't a jerk, and then towards the end he becomes less of a jerk [or something] and we all feel good about ourselves.

The only part I found effective was the bit where Salinger makes him a jerk. I won't bother going through the main reasons I absolutely hate Holden, because they really aren't that hard to find. But (as I see it) Holden had two main characteristics. 1) He was a jerk, and 2) he had angst.

I don't empathize with someone because they are a jerk. I say, "Wow, he's a jerk." I know everyone is a jerk every now and then, I'm no exception, but it's a bad thing. Holden may be an anti-hero, but that doesn't give him the right to have no redeeming qualities (I don't count being angsty). Holden should either try to justify himself (which he doesn't do) or try to change. And no, he doesn't change. At the end of the book he's under psychological care, and he says he might try next time. He might try. And pretty much eerything

The redeeming feature of Holden seems to be that he had Angst. Salinger kept trying to say "He may be scum, but it's because he's very sensitive and has deep feelings." So what? Am I supposed to feel sorry for Holden because he had (unjustified and rather ordinary) psychological pain? I don't really have any sympathy for that - that's like going to the hospital because you stubbed your toe. Holden feels depressed because someone wrote foul language on the wall of his sister's school and he can't rub it out - but that's no excuse for trying to give up and become a mime. Just because the world isn't perfect doesn't mean you should give up - yet that is what Holden seems to recommend. Basically he whines about how sensitive he is, to which I reply "Deal with it."

Holden may be angsty, but I don't have patience for angsty people who won't shut up.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Mous » Mon May 25, 2009 6:19 pm UTC

To me in high school Catcher in the Rye is one of those cultish books that people read to feel smart. Young english teachers, especially, absolutely love it.
Sort of like Ayn Rand in college.

But that's just from my experience. I read it and found it relatively boring, like any other book about teenagers.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Chai Kovsky » Mon May 25, 2009 7:06 pm UTC

My thought? Just because Salinger intended to do such and such (make him a jerk, provide a limited, biased POV, etc) and succeeded at it doesn't necessarily mean that it was an effective novel. You can indeed create a well-crafted piece of shit.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue May 26, 2009 3:54 am UTC

I read it on the recommendation of an English teacher, but not required and entirely on my own time. I hated it.

I think we've covered that the narrator is irritating. I mean, I found him worse than irritating. Someone earlier said that if the most horrible death had occurred to him, they wouldn't have cared. That's how I felt. I was fifteen when I read it. I didn't empathize at all. I've never really had much empathy for the "ahhh, the world sucks" sort of thing.

But, many say, this is the point. You're supposed to loathe the main character, and that's what the real point is. I still didn't get anything out of the book. I just found an example of humanity that I could have told you I was going to hate if you had described him to me before reading the book.

I'm debating reading it again just so I can articulate why this book provoked such hatred from me better, but, well, then I'd have to read it again. I think my points have already been made.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby podbaydoor » Tue May 26, 2009 8:00 pm UTC

I read it when I was fourteen, when I was at my whiniest angstiest stage, and even I absolutely hated Holden. Couldn't stand him for his total spinelessness combined with his fake bravado and grating sense of fake superiority. But even then it wasn't the narrator that formed my main complaint about this book - it was the fact that absolutely nothing happened. I waited the entire book for something, anything to happen, but all I got was Holden being sent to a mental institution for not even any real mental issues besides being an irresponsible unreasonable spineless coward. There was no. Plot. At all.

The other thing I hated was how entitled and privileged Holden was. I mean, what the freak did he have to complain about? How rich his family was? How rich all his friends were? How he had cash flowing freely out of his ass to fund his little angsty joyride through the city? I wish I had that much pocket money whenever I had angsty episodes. Instead, I dealt with my teenage angst constructively, and with a modicum of self-awareness.

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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby justaman » Tue May 26, 2009 8:53 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:The other thing I hated was how entitled and privileged Holden was. I mean, what the freak did he have to complain about? How rich his family was? How rich all his friends were? How he had cash flowing freely out of his ass to fund his little angsty joyride through the city? I wish I had that much pocket money whenever I had angsty episodes. Instead, I dealt with my teenage angst constructively, and with a modicum of self-awareness.

@sje: You're an ass. Get out.

That is the point, he has nothing to complain about. He is relatively rich, with a good and loving family and a whole heap of privilege; but he is mentally unstable and depressed, so he complains because that is all he knows how to do, and he doesn't know how to escape from his depression. Could you say that any of the clinically depressed people (remembering that Holden is committed to what is presumably a psychiatric ward at the end) you know are able to escape their depression without help? He is also a teenager and doesn't understand what is happening to him - most teenagers I know have been through stages where they think the whole world is against them. They may not express it externally, but the book is narrated internally or as Holden remembers it, so it is the world through his eyes; so you are seeing the internal view that wouldn't normally be seen by an onlooker.

Anyway, I agree about sje. My mom almost died because of one of your posts - she had an apoplectic fit over the contentless insipidity that is your typical post. Not cool. Not a good post.

Actually, I think your posts are pretty funny, especially your attempt to get the above meme going in the individual comics threads.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Ulmo » Tue May 26, 2009 11:57 pm UTC

I dunno... I read the book a couple of years ago and was really taken with it. Sure Holden's a jerk, and sure he's committed to a "facility" at the end, but I still found myself able to empathize with him throughout, just as sje46 said. It's also refreshing to read a bildungsroman where the protagonist doesn't become some responsible saintly adult by the end.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby podbaydoor » Wed May 27, 2009 2:11 am UTC

@justaman: I suppose that could be taken as one interpretation - but it still does nothing to make him more sympathetic or identifiable for me. Also, it may have been an internal monologue, but Holden's patheticness came through in his actions, too. I suppose I was never truly depressed or in a psychological state remotely close to Holden's, so I would naturally have much less empathy for him and just perceive him as an indecisive, self-destructive, contemptible jerk.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Brwagur » Wed May 27, 2009 2:49 am UTC

I found Holden psychologically interesting. He is obnoxious and stubborn but is in reality a fairly complex character. I can understand why someone could dislike it but there are worse books.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Wed May 27, 2009 4:04 am UTC

To me, Holden didn't even seem depressed - just spoiled, lazy, and overindulgent. This coming from someone who has known several people institutionalized for severe depression, some linked to events just as traumatic, or more so, as the death of a sibling. I never felt for a minute that Holden was really smart enough or aware enough to care about anything but himself - he struck me the whole time as a monster of selfishness, without even a good reason. Scarlett O'Hara is a monster of selfishness too, but no one has ever claimed her experience is universal.

My hatred of the book may be genetic, though. My dad, who was born in 1941, so was among the first high school classes to be assigned it, hated it too. Then again, my father was born in the ghetto, and did not understand what he was supposed to find in common with this pampered "poor little rich boy" who could do nothing but complain about how rotten every one else was. Or it could have been the feeling both of us had that we had read many, many better books that didn't receive half the acclaim.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby bobbo » Wed May 27, 2009 4:53 pm UTC

I have a bit of a theory about Catcher in the Rye. All of the people in my year that do not like the book seem to be the ones with the most friends, do well in school and all that (successful in the conventional, school taught sense). All of the people that absolutely love the book are the stranger, arty types (plus the self-harmers etc. basically people that don't fit into the traditional school cliques) who scrape through school putting in as little effort as possible etc. (the people who think they are just like Holden).

Sure Holden's self-indulgent, whiny and, despite his beliefs, there's probably nothing wrong with him mentally. A lot of people (especially angsty teenagers) are self-indulgent, whiny and believe they have mental issues. That's why Catcher in the Rye is loved. The people who think like Holden are the ones who can "see through" (or are completely oblivious to) his selfish, obnoxious personality.

Unfortunately, I love Catcher in the Rye.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby zombiefeynman » Wed May 27, 2009 6:46 pm UTC

Another thing I just thought of/remembered: Catcher in the Rye was written in the 50's-ish, which I've been told was very clean and wholesome (at least on the outside). Perhaps Catcher has survived in part because of it's open vulgarity?
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Chai Kovsky » Wed May 27, 2009 9:55 pm UTC

I don't think there is anything under his selfish self-indulgence, bobbo. Anything under the lazy spoiledness is...more lazy spoiledness. So, as you say, it's popular because people identify with him and so project on him the sensitivity that they think motivates his actions (because they equally think it motivates their own). Any virtue is really just super-imposed on him by others.

So what're we left with? CitR is popular because it, as zombiefeynman says, swears a lot? Are teenagers yet so juvenile as to like a character simply because he has a potty-mouth?
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby natraj » Wed May 27, 2009 10:00 pm UTC

bobbo wrote:I have a bit of a theory about Catcher in the Rye. All of the people in my year that do not like the book seem to be the ones with the most friends, do well in school and all that (successful in the conventional, school taught sense). All of the people that absolutely love the book are the stranger, arty types (plus the self-harmers etc. basically people that don't fit into the traditional school cliques) who scrape through school putting in as little effort as possible etc. (the people who think they are just like Holden).


Mmm... I don't know. I loathed Catcher in the Rye when I read it in high school, and I was a strange arty depressive outcast. I just couldn't find anything sympathetic about Holden, nor anything that made me interested in him or care what happened to him. You can have totally unsympathetic characters that are still interesting people and make me want to know what's going to happen, and this book didn't do that for me at all.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Mous » Wed May 27, 2009 10:02 pm UTC

I didn't care about the character, I just found the entire book hideously boring to read.

bobbo, I like your theory, though I imagine if certain people read it they're going to disagree a whole lot. But it's true, people read Catcher and the Rye and similar, more modern teenage books (some examples that come to mind are the perks of being a wallflower, books about drugs, suicide, mental illness, etc) because they want to relate to it... But in reality they have nothing to relate to.

As for the swearing, of course. Especially when it is required reading, the kids are more likely to read it with all the sex and swearing.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Chai Kovsky » Wed May 27, 2009 10:45 pm UTC

natraj wrote:Mmm... I don't know. I loathed Catcher in the Rye when I read it in high school, and I was a strange arty depressive outcast. I just couldn't find anything sympathetic about Holden, nor anything that made me interested in him or care what happened to him. You can have totally unsympathetic characters that are still interesting people and make me want to know what's going to happen, and this book didn't do that for me at all.
I think perhaps the high-school stereotypes bobbo produced might be a bit off-track, but the basic idea is on: you can be arty and depressed without being spoiled or self-indulgent. It is the character trait that determines whether you identify with him, rather than whether you were a cheerleader.

And I don't know if you can have wholly unsympathetic characters who are interesting, or they just turn into Holdens. We have to have something to relate to or like, even if it's just in small part. Perhaps it's like Richard III, who is mad crazy and evil, but charming as hell, so we like him because he has, not a redeeming characteristic, but at least a positive one. What positive character trait does Holden have?
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Thu May 28, 2009 5:52 am UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:What positive character trait does Holden have?


Um.... he didn't kill anyone and eat their still-warm flesh raw?

I think his "protectiveness" was supposed to be his positive character trait, but it struck me as more petulant smugness. I can think of so many characters who are more morally defective or more severely depressed or more outright insane than Holden, but they are uniformly more likable and more compelling. For example, Satan.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby d33p » Thu May 28, 2009 6:12 am UTC

It's just you.
All of the arguments (sans a few) have based their opinions on Holden's character. I didn't like Ignatius C. Reilly, Owen Meany, or Mathieu as characters - personally, I found them deplorable, feeble, and lacking in rationality - but, I found the stories they were involved in (The Confederacy of Dunces, A Prayer For Owen Meany, The Age Of Reason) quite compelling. The issue here is to see a character who's not quite prepared to deal with his world suddenly immersed in that exact world. (See? I picked those characters for a reason.)
Holden is not meant to be a role-model in the way John Galt or Sal Paradise was written. Holden is meant to be pitied. He's almost meant to be mocked. But, in that mocking, we find the familiar feeling of pointing a finger and having several pointed back at us.
The 'Crime and Punishment' example was germane - we're meant to wonder if, on some level, given the same situation, we would do the same. If you can say No, fine. If you say Yes, fine. You can appreciate the immersion nonetheless, but only if you're willing to do so.
If you're not, then you'll never get the point of existentialist/Beat/idealistic literature. While the 'character > plot' scenario doesn't make for easy reading a lot of time, it's certainly worthwhile.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Thu May 28, 2009 6:30 am UTC

And if you think what Salinger did with Catcher in the Rye was accomplished better by other authors? I enjoy "character > plot" where the character is fleshed out. I enjoy James Joyce immensely, but I am really not a fan of Salinger. I will also say I got much more out of Howl than I did out of Catcher in the Rye.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby sje46 » Thu May 28, 2009 6:32 am UTC

Stephen Dedalus does kinda remind me of Holden a little. . .
You don't think Holden was fleshed out? Really? I don't know how I can prove you wrong on that . . . but I disagree.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby d33p » Thu May 28, 2009 6:39 am UTC

Now we've compared a Ginsberg poem to "Ulysses" to "Catcher in the Rye"... which isn't quite fair.
The fleshing-out you mentioned? Yeah, Salinger managed that far better than Joyce (whom I also have mad respect for), and... well, not as much as Kerouac. Ginsberg couldn't capture that angst-ridden psyche in poetic form, as much as he tried, though I genuinely dig his retrospect.
So, still not seeing your point.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Thu May 28, 2009 6:55 am UTC

I guess I'd say my point is that to assume ignorance in anyone who disagrees with your assessment of a novel's worth is immature. I find Joyce a more compelling writer. I find Ginsburg more relevant to Beat psyche and to a psychological understanding of the non-traditional American's post-War experience. So I have read works from other (and I'd say, more difficult) stream-of-consciousness writers and enjoyed them, meaning that it can't be ignorance of literary style. I have read works of Salinger's contemporaries and found them more thought-provoking, especially based on my knowledge of America in the 1950's, so it's not historical ignorance.

I truly and honestly believe the book is extremely overrated, because it is relatively short, it's extremely easy, and I think the message is so blatant that a child could understand it, but it has a few curse words and an almost sex scene, so it has a large taboo built around it. It's pre-packaged taboo and titillation for reasons that do not advance the story, nor do they make the main character more sympathetic or pitiable, because pity is wasted on those who refuse to help themselves. To me, Catcher in the Rye is a post-War Jerry Springer meltdown that focuses on rich people for the added thrill of the rich not having perfect lives; we always knew they were all secretly miserable, and this proves it.

So could we maybe stop with the accusations of ignorance and incapability to understand? It is perfectly possible to read the book and reject it as meritorious for perfectly valid reasons. If you said The Brothers Karamazov was too opaque, and that's why it's a bad book, that would not be a valid reason or a good argument. If you said that the motivations were too murky, the plotline convoluted for no good reason, the language deliberately obscure, and you felt that the theme of Heart vs. Head vs. Soul vs. Sex Drive was far better established in some other book by some different author, then I'd agree that you have a perfectly valid reason for disliking the book and a perfectly valid reason to wonder why it's so commonly included in the Canon.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby sje46 » Thu May 28, 2009 6:59 am UTC

But you just said that you didn't like the book because it was too easy to read.
I don't see how a short, easy book with a simple message makes it bad. All novellas and short stories are short. Everything Vonnegut wrote was easy. And a simple message can still an important and powerful message.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby d33p » Thu May 28, 2009 7:16 am UTC

Fair. It wasn't my intention, at all, to condescend.
I only meant to point out that those who haven't read similar character developments, nor have examined them in context, might have a weak fulcrum to try and level Holden out of the "Canon" (as you put it) of angst-ridden characters trying to post-traumatic claim.
Holden has a very singular view, scoped by his experiences as an adolescent. He opts for escapism. At the time, it's fairly odd and out-of-synch. Beat-lit and various existentialist works come later (or earlier, depending on the country), so "Catcher" brings the American Dream into a rare sort of focus: Where the picket fence hasn't yet been dreamed, and the working man might not stand a chance.

Also, to be fair, I'm a Gen-Xer. That might have something to do with my views.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Thu May 28, 2009 12:21 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:But you just said that you didn't like the book because it was too easy to read.
I don't see how a short, easy book with a simple message makes it bad. All novellas and short stories are short. Everything Vonnegut wrote was easy. And a simple message can still an important and powerful message.


More because people act like it is the most esoteric book EVAR. You certainly did (and misused the word "foolhardy" in the process). Anyone can understand Catcher, which does not mean anyone can and should like it. The next time someone says they hate the book, the polite thing to do is say 'Why?', rather than 'BUT YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND!!!!'.
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Re: Catcher in the Rye stinks or is it just me?

Postby sje46 » Thu May 28, 2009 1:25 pm UTC

This post had objectionable content.
Try again. This time without the condescending. Or the meme. - ST
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