Thursday, January 8, 2015

Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger - #2

Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger - #2

It is easy to peg Catcher as a novel of teenage angst, but one almost wants to tell Holden, "Hey, if you'd been born in the 1950's and come of age in the late 1960's, you'd have had  a much easier time of it." Letting kids show their individuality more and play to/with their talents was just around the corner.

As a matter of fact, if one reads Catcher as a playback of the underside of the 1950's, it seems painful but achingly accurate in some ways. The rich prep students and their parents are either phony and self-absorbed or nice but unreflective.  The Beats and musicians are talented but cynical and aloof. It is as if Holden is angry at the poses they all have to maintain just to put across an image to frame their lives as salable and livable. One can of  course include D.B., his talented Hollywood script-writing brother in this cavalcade.

And we only encounter his parents by hearsay, never in person.

The wholly good characters: his sister Phoebe and his dead brother Allie.

Holden is actually a microcosm of an entire generation waiting to erupt. As they will.

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