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Introduction to J.D. Salinger’s: The Catcher in the Rye

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1 Introduction to J.D. Salinger’s: The Catcher in the Rye

2 J.D. Salinger 1919 – present Has written several books about young people including The Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zoey Served in WWII Has not granted an interview since 1980!

3 J.D. Salinger Born in NYC to parents Sol and Miriam: father was Jewish, mother, Catholic Jerome David Salinger Recognized as one of the most popular and influential authors of American fiction during the second half of the twentieth century. Has, by his own choice, remained out of the public eye for most of his life.

4 The Catcher in the Rye Published in 1951
Has sold over 65 million copies world wide! Despite its popular success, the critical response to The Catcher in the Rye was slow in getting underway. One of the most frequently challenged books in library history because of sex and vulgar language. Named one of the best novels of the 20th century by Time Magazine.

5 Reasons for Banning? Until 2006, Catcher was one of the most frequently banned books. Mark David Chapman (assassin of John Lennon) and John Hinckley Jr. (attempted assassin of President Ronald Reagan) both had copies of the book in their pockets when they were arrested.

6 The Catcher in the Rye Tells the story of a teenager expelled from his high school and his journey across NYC in the 1950’s. Issues discussed in the book include: school, teachers, music, sex, alcohol, hypocrisy, family, and being a teenager. A story is about Holden Caulfield, the 16 year old protagonist of the novel, and his experiences in school and New York City.

7 Holden’s Character and Us
Holden Caulfield = sketch of an American teenager Nearly all readers identify with or see some of their friends reflected in different aspects of Holden’s character. Young readers see in Holden Caulfield a little bit of what they are, while older readers see in Holden a bit of what they once were. Ultimately, we all know that is some way, Holden is one of us.

8 Similarities between J.D. Salinger and Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger attended prep schools in NYC and flunked out of McBurney School at 13 He attended Valley Forge Military Academy and graduated at 15 He has been referred to as a terrible liar, though this is difficult to prove/disprove Alienation from society– Salinger seems determined to keep his life private from outsiders.

9 Point of View First-person limited- we see this story only through Holden’s eyes “You”- the psychoanalyst and the reader Stream of Consciousness; many digressions Dialect- Salinger perfected the dialect of the teenage boy This language is the cause of much controversy over the book This creates a very believable character

10 Themes/Topics Phonies/Societal Pressures
“phony” implies snobbery Holden hates phonies Adolescence/ Loss of Innocence Holden is at the in between stage of life, in between a child and an adult Holden wants to be accepted by children and adults, however, he doesn’t fit into either category

11 Course Themes Within Catcher
Conformity vs. Resistance IDENTITY FORMATION Perception of Truth Changes in Values over Time Watch for these themes during your reading of the novel. You will be expected to pull examples of each theme out of the novel.

12 Dominant Symbols The Carousel The Red Hunting Cap The Catcher’s Mitt
The Ducks in Central Park Pond The Museum of Natural History Pencey Prep

13 Holden’s Quests Holden is looking for THREE things:
The Innocence of Childhood Wants things to remain the same as when he was younger Love Identity What do I do with my life? What does this all mean? How do I live up to expectations and still be an individual?

14 What to look for while reading?
This novel is a character study of Holden. Analyze Holden’s motivations, his personality, and his mental stability. What’s Holden’s deal? Is there something wrong with him (is he crazy?) or is he a just a normal teenager?

15 Journal Response Put yourself into Holden’s shoes. What would you do if you were expelled from school and knew that your parents would not know you were expelled for two days? Plan out those two days and please keep your responses school appropriate. OR Is innocence something to be cherished? Why? Why do we mourn the loss of innocence so profoundly? Why do we feel the need to protect children from losing their innocence? Can loss of innocence be a positive thing?

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