catcher in the rye

Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.
— 

J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

This is one of the most beautiful passages I’ve ever read!

In Defense of Holden Caulfield

I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever understand why exactly people hate Holden Caulfield from “The Catcher in the Rye”.

I mean, sure, you could defend your dislike with a classic gem such as, “Oh, he’s just a whiny, pretentious f***boy! He’s so boring, all he does is complain!”

But at that I’m just like

okay, wow, I’m sorry the incredibly depressed mentally ill teenager who has no true friends and is constantly being ignored by the people he tries to reach out to and is constantly being told he’s useless and a bad influence by his peers and has alluded to being sexually molested by multiple people as a little kid and has to deal with the pain and hardship of growing up in a world he can’t help but see as superficial and hypocritical and WHOSE CLASSMATE FRICKIN’ COMMITTED SUICIDE IN FRONT OF HIM isn’t a conventionally cheerful or likeable protagonist????

I don’t understand why that’s so hard for people to grasp; it just straight up BAFFLES me. I mean, people eke out all sorts of ways to like downright villains like Alex (DeLarge) or Loki or Ramsay Snow/Bolton, or antiheros like Jaime/Cersei Lannister, Sherlock Holmes, etc.

Why is it so hard to dole out a little sympathy for Holden, who, ultimately, just wants to protect children from the evils of the world—arguably one of the noblest and most heartbreakingly tender aspirations of all?

Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.
—  J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Book Summaries
  • Picture of Dorian Gray: I'll be a good person...lol nah
  • House of Leaves: Haha have fun sleeping after this book and have fun trying to read it
  • Jurassic Park: lol let's have dinosaurs
  • Lotf: KILL THE PIG CUT ITS THROAT SPILL ITS BLOOD
  • Taming of the shrew: Lol who are we
  • Catcher in the rye: I'm a phony you're a phony we're all phonies
  • A Clockwork Orange: Droogs why
  • Count of Monte cristo: REVENGE
  • Les Mis: all this for a loaf of bread
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE / J.D. SALINGER
  • Holden Caulfield: I left the fencing equipment on the subway lol oopsies
  • Holden: Oh man I got kicked out of school lol oopsies
  • Holden: WHATEVSIES LET’S GO RUN AWAY TO NEW YORK *slaps on his red hunting cap of swag*
  • [in taxi] Holden: Hey.
  • Hey.
  • Hey.
  • Taxi driver: WHAT.
  • Holden: Where do the ducks go when the pond freezes over?
  • Taxi driver: How the hell should I know whatchu playin’ at
  • Holden: NOTHING LOL JUS’ WONDERING
  • [pause for metaphorical resonance]
  • Holden: *comes across a telephone booth*
  • Holden: OH BOY I WANT TO CALL UP MY OLD CHILDHOOD FRIEND JANE GALLAGHER
  • Holden: Wait never mind. Not gonna do it. You have to be in the right mood.
  • Holden: *comes across another telephone booth* *repeats the entire thought process 95889246502657 times until the reader wants to smack him*
  • Holden: *eventually checks into a hotel* Damn, is it good to be a rich teenage runaway. *goes out into town and orders a million drinks at a million bars*
  • Holden: PHONY PHONY PHONY YOU’RE A PHONY SHE’S A PHONY WE’RE ALLL PHONIES
  • Holden: *breaks down crying*
  • Holden: *eventually checks into his hotel again* *somehow accidentally orders a prostitute for the night*
  • Sunny: Yo.
  • Holden: Hey you wanna talk?
  • Sunny: Not…really? Whatchu playin’ at?
  • Holden: Nothing, nothing, hey, listen I’ll pay ya for the time and everything, I just want to talk-
  • Sunny: Srry pal. I g2g. [her pimp comes to Holden’s room. heartbreaking stuff happens.]
  • Holden: [clutches belly] OH GOD I’M DYING I SEE THE LIGHT
  • oh cool maybe jane gallagher will come save me
  • oh god do i want to jump her bones
  • just kiddinggggg jane is a total metaphor for innocence and i don’t want to jump anyone’s bonesss
  • [five mins later]
  • Man. She isn’t coming. OH WELL TIME TO PHONE UP SALLY BOY DO THE GIRLS LOVE ME.
  • Sally: I fucking hate you but I need a boyfriend.
  • Holden: K cool my heart is for Jane anyways.
  • I mean, she keeps all her kings in the back row, and all.
  • Sally: I feel like that’s another metaph-
  • Holden: TO BROADWAY! *drags her away*
  • [Because they do not see Les Mis or Gentleman’s Guide or any other fantastic Broadway musical, but some dry play with Alfred Lunt, their date falls to pieces.]
  • [later, at an ice rink]
  • Holden: We should totes run away.
  • Sally: What.
  • Holden: We could buy our own little cabin-
  • Sally: No.
  • Holden: I’m not kidding, we should do it right now-
  • Sally: Hold it right there, motherfucker. Stop it.
  • Holden: Well, you don’t have to be a pain in the ass about it-
  • Sally: ZOMG HOW DARE YOU CURSE AT ME
  • HOW DARE YOU CURSE AT ME, YOU LITTLE FUCKER *bursts into tears*
  • Holden: *runs away* Why is life so haaaaard…
  • [oh yeah at some point he buys a Little Shirley Beans record and then he drops it and we all know it’s another metaphor]
  • Holden: I know what will help!
  • A visit to my lil’ sis!
  • ALLONS-Y!
  • Phoebe: HEY WHOA
  • HEY
  • HOLDEN
  • LIKE, WHOA
  • Holden: like don’t tell mom and dad I swung by I just want to say hi to you-
  • Phoebe: You got kicked out of school again didn’t you.
  • Holden: No-
  • Phoebe: LIKE COME ON GET YOUR SORRY ASS TOGETHER HAVE YOU EVER EVEN THOUGHT OF THE FUTURE
  • Holden: Well, you know that song “if a body catch a body coming through the rye”?
  • Phoebe: It’s “if a body meet a body-”
  • Holden: Yeah whatever. That’s all I really want to do. I imagine all these kids playing in this field of rye, and they’re kids, so sometimes they get too close to the edge of this huge cliff, so I’ll be the one catching them. I’ll do it with Allie’s old mitt. I’ll be the catcher in the rye.
  • [FIVE MINUTE INTERMISSION SO READERS CAN SOB THEIR HEARTS OUT]
  • Holden: Oh shit parents are home CATCH YOU LATER PHOEBE [high-tails it to Mr. Antolini’s]
  • Mr. Antolini: Holden!
  • Holden: You know, you’re the only one I can really talk to besides my sister. You’re a really cool English teacher. You should know that.
  • Mr. Antolini: *pets Holden’s head while Holden’s sleeping*
  • Holden: *runs away crying*
  • Mr. Antolini: WAIT, CALM DOWN SON
  • Holden: Okay you know what I’m running away. For reals. I’m running away to the West.
  • DONE WITH THIS SHIT.
  • Phoebe: No you ain’t.
  • Holden: Yes I am.
  • Phoebe: You can’t leave me!
  • Holden: Yes I can.
  • Phoebe: AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO’ DAT.
  • Holden: [changes mind] Okay, fine, how about we go to the zoo? Okay Phoebe? Sorry I hurt your feelings, Phoebe.
  • Phoebe: *gets on the merry-go-round of Symbolic Wonder at the zoo* Hey Holden you wanna come on?
  • Holden: No, I can’t, but I’ll watch you.
  • Yeah.
  • Sometimes the kids will reach for the gold ring, and sometimes they’ll fall off, but you can’t tell them not to.
  • Yeah.
  • [later later]
  • You start missing everybody after a while.