“I ignored him. I really did. I went right on to smoking like a madman. All I did was sort of turn over on my side and watched him cut his damn toenails. What a school.” – J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
Continuing on the saga of The Catcher in the Rye, our class has moved on up to the sixth
chapter. Here, we had the chance to really divulge more into who Holden really is. In the first pages, we’re confronted by an aggressive, cynical narrator. And by no means is this now false, especially if you look again back to my last post on the book (here!) …but as readers progress we get to see something new and fancily advertised.
The new additions, those that I’m certainly starting to favor, are the absolute natural quirks of the character. One of the prime examples was Holden’s intense disgust of those around him, though sounding quite awful to read and relate to. However, it adds a feature that I don’t think audiences expect from a loud, cigarette-smoking teenage boy. Certainly rebellion youth didn’t attach to any “Oh, and keep up that cleaning!” trends, at least not that I’ve seen. So yes, I’ll admit it’s a bit odd to connect to, but at least I can certainly relate to a kid just trying to have a semi-nice surrounding. Too loud, too messy, and just like Holden I’ll probably be uncomfortable. And through being a fictional character, he has the mind to just outright say it when it happens.
Such leads right to another reason I absolutely favor such a brutal narrator… his anger!
In many novels, the main character is presented as a highly civil person, who rarely acts out of expected social norms unless they’re the “lovably awkward” or “joking goofball” types. However, Holden is none of this things. Instead, he’s a natural teen full of weird, clumsy-actions that are depressing to read but all the more understandable to imagine. Especially his anger. I don’t think I could count how many times the poor boy cursed out an object or got into a fight and horsed around. Though seeming so horrid, it’s realistic.
Thus, I’m very excited to see where Holden will be ending up in the next few chapters, especially if it’s exploring any of his further teenage angst and personality. And if you’re as interested as much as I am, feel free to watch this little video right here! It’s all about Holden’s unreliability, and certainly an interesting watch if you have the time. Thank you!