“It was icy as hell and I damn near fell down. I don’t even know what I was running for- I guess I just felt like it. After I got across the road, I felt like I was sort of disappearing.” – J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
Starting today, my class and I have started our journey with the novel Catcher in the Rye. Having so far only read the first chapter, readers are already confronted with the main character Holden.
In just the first few sentences, you can see why the book was incredibly feared for it’s “bad influences” when it was published. Right away, Holden is stacked up to be this vital image of critical realism and stubborn attitude bottled into a young teenage boy. Academic issues
are kicked into focus bluntly, cynical opinions of industry presented, and the list goes on. He even seems to dislike being the narrator of the novel, telling the audience what they’ll be listening to whether they’d like to hear it or not.
However, I can’t help but to actually appreciate the author’s presentation as of now. I have high hopes! Though sounding sad, the harsh truth and informal nature actually creates Holden as a more relatable figure. Yes, he may not be kindest or happiest, but so far the downtrodden facts of the imperfect character are only human to those reading the novel. My only dreams for the further chapters are that Holden will later be revealed to have softer light to his personality as well. Because if not… well, the risk of a too disliked character isn’t a fun one. At that point, when the character is so far down, the reader eventually get’s driven downward as well. So for now, as a spectrum, I can only hope J.D. Salinger keeps him in this agreeable, understandable middle section.
And, if you’d like to keep up with the rest of us as we read, or just feel interested, take a look at Good Reads and join along here. We’ll be doing a lot of work with this one, so try and keep along! Thank you!