I think this book captured so perfectly both the utter nonsense and deep life-changing thoughts that run through your head as a teenager.
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is must-read book. There were numerous things that I enjoyed about this novel. First, the novel follows Holden’s train of thought, which, at the time the novel was written, was a unique method. It allows the reader uninhibited access to Holden’s mind. Second, I enjoyed Holden’s character development. He comes off as an angsty private school teen, but as you continue reading, you find that he is a deep adolescent with an interesting view on life. In addition, I enjoyed the short timeline of the novel. Catcher in the Rye occurs in a timeline of less than three days. The entire events of the novel are in real-time, and Holden explains things as he thinks them and as they happen to him.
With that being said, there were things that I did dislike about this novel. It is important for an educator to realize that this novel (more than likely) cannot be taught in an adolescent classroom. The vulgar language, although extremely realistic, would head off a rampage of furious parents banging on your classroom door. Although the language is realistic and does not bother me in the least, it cannot be taught in a public school classroom. Which is a shame. Also, I dislike that the metaphor of “catcher in the rye” is often looked over. If Salinger had embedded this metaphor more deeply, it would have been easier to grasp. It is an excellent message that often goes overlooked.
Anyone who reads Catcher in the Rye will be able to make numerous connections to the book. Holden, after all, is an average hooligan teenager. At some point, weren’t all of us? I can relate to this book because of his distaste for…everyone, really. At that age, anyone and everyone does something to annoy you, and Holden does not hold this back from the reader. In addition, I can relate to the pride that he feels for his sister, Phoebe. In adolescents, most siblings dislike one another. However, I have always been proud of my siblings. Also, Holden is an easy character to relate to because of his desire to grow up. As quickly as possible. He attempts (and often succeeds) to buy drinks in bars, buys a prostitute, and continually smokes up a storm. Holden is on the fast track to adulthood, and most adolescents can easily relate to this mindset.
Integrating this book into a classroom curriculum will be a difficult feat. As said before, it would be almost impossible to fully read this novel in a secondary education classroom. However, Catcher in the Rye has impacted adolescent literature in a way that cannot be ignored. Teens must be able to realize how important this novel is, even if they cannot read it in full. Therefore, in my classroom, I will pick excerpts of the novel to teach in class. More than likely I will choose the pieces of Catcher in the Rye that directly relate to the title. This title describes the extended metaphor of the novel, which is the idea that when children grow up, they are thrown out into the world (out of the rye), but adults are continually eager to throw them back into childhood (adults are the catchers in the rye, throwing them back into childhood). By choosing to analyze these excerpts in class, the students will hopefully gain a desire to check the book out the library and read it on their own....Continua