Saturday, September 21, 2013

Salinger's Making My Life Hell.

As a result of my grand idea to take the AP English III class, I realized that English is the only course that I enjoy; and that most of my friends hate with a flaming passion of a thousand suns. So, I have been tweaking a few essays here and there, leaving me exhausted. I also realized that I am in over my head in literature. We finished Gatsby about two weeks ago and are starting "The Scarlet Letter" on Monday(The custom house must be annotated in full this weekend...), and I decided to start another classic in my free time. My worst decision yet.

I am not going to deny the fact that I am greatly exaggerating my thoughts over "The Catcher in the Rye", but I am going to go on about those thoughts regardless. Being three quarters  of the way through the thing, I still have no idea why this story is even being told. So, I must whine and cry about why I do not understand this novel; not because I do not want to figure it out myself but for someone else to tell me what they think of it.

First of all, Holden Caulfield is a mess. This estranged teenager is making me go crazy because there is absolutely no method to his madness. Thus far, all he has done is attempt to convince people he's much older than actuality, get the life beat out of him, and try to order alcohol then fail miserably. He makes you think he does that all the time, people sell him alcohol just because he looks old enough; the boy is insane. He has this sick delusion of himself that is placed high on some pedestal; all the while judging people intently like a little kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. Also, he has no direction at all. Even the most pathetic of my peer group has some direction, Right? Holden's not even unintelligent, he just has complete disregard for everything in existence. He's completely indecisive about his mindset. He can go from philosophical babel and reading "Out of Africa" to the average thoughts of an incompetent young man who only cares about young women. 

 After finishing those past sentences, I realized that we have so much in common that I could never possibly understand him because I will never understand my own craziness. Is that what Salinger wanted? For me to question a character that is so relatable that it is a bit frightening? I doubt it immensely. Just because the kid has a few gray hairs, he gets one stuck up where the sun does not shine  to call everyone "phony". I hate this word now and swear to myself to never use it again. "Phony". He mustn't understand the meaning of it. It is almost nauseating how much he uses that stupid word; but not quite as nauseating as the phrase "Old Sport" that I had to read over and over, up until Fitzgerald shot it and let it lie in a pool of blood. (Sorry Leo...)

All in all, I will probably finish the book tonight and completely regret ranting about how I have not a clue into the insight if Mr. J.D. Salinger. But, honestly, where is the fun in that?


Jordan Dane said...

Old sport. Aaarrghhhh

It's been awhile since I read Catcher, but I remember liking it. I might have to read it again. Not from your high praise. Ha!

Sechin Tower said...

Man, I wish you were in my class! My students say it's one of their favorites of the year. I guess it's all in the way you teach it... what I like best is how it captures a distinctive voice and allows us to know more about his psychological state than he knows.

I think the key to the whole book is figuring out where he's physically located at the end. Let me know if you get that one. :)