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Catcher in the Rye, Salinger's first
and only known novel, took him ten years to write, and became an instant hit when the Book-of-theMonth Club chose it as their main selection in 1951. It has never gone out of print, and as the novel's popularity grew its author became more and more reclusive. He reportedly still writes, but only for himself, not for publication.
The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by
J. D. Salinger. First published in the United States in 1951, the novel remains controversial to this day for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and teenage anxiety; it was the thirteenth most frequently challenged book of the 1990s according to the American Library Association.
reinstated, for assigning the novel in class.
Fact: In 1960, a teacher was fired, and later
The novel has become one of the most important literary works of the 20th century, and a common part of high school and college curricula worldwide; it has been translated into almost all of the world's major languages. Around 250,000 copies are sold each year, with total sales of more than 60 million.
The novel was chosen by TIME magazine
as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.
The Catcher in the Rye
The novel's protagonist,
Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion and defiance. Written in the first person, The Catcher in the Rye follows Holden's experiences in New York City in the days following his expulsion from Pencey Prep, a college preparatory school.
Salinger uses colloquial and street language
while allowing the protagonist to narrate the story. This style, used throughout the novel, refers to the use of seemingly disjointed ideas and episodes used in an apparently random medley, but in fact in a highly structured way, that is used to illustrate a theme. Critical reviews agree that the novel accurately reflects teenage colloquial speech of the time.
Mark David Chapman, who
assassinated John Lennon (from The Beatles), was carrying the book when he was arrested immediately after the murder and referred to it in his statement to police shortly thereafter.
John Hinckley, Jr., who attempted to
assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was also reported to have been obsessed with the book.
The word "phony" is used many times by the narrator,
Holden Caulfield. In fact, the book is full of this word usage which really touches upon a deeper meaning than is first seen. On one level, we see a young boy, Holden Caulfield, confused about life and cutting down things that exist around him. But on a deeper level we find that we are really reading a story about a boy’s struggle with adolescence and his transition into adulthood. Holden is a very perceptive boy. He is almost beyond his years in his ability to recognize what he sees around him – but he is still just a boy. So his thoughts on life are simple. Either something is good or bad; true or false; real or "phony". When Holden uses the word "phony", he seems to be describing people that are prejudice, hypocritical, or insincere.
You are to read this book on your own. The quiz pack is due by March 3rd . Take care of the books; they are from my personal collection. You may use time at the end of class to read or work on the packet. If you are having difficulty with the novel, you might consider going to one of the following web-sites:
http://www.cliffsnotes.com http://www.sparknotes.com http://www.bookrags.com
Enjoy the novel!