Book Nook Cafe discussion

107 views
Group Read > The Catcher In the Rye - March 2010

Comments Showing 1-50 of 107 (107 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1 3

message 1: by Alias Reader (last edited Feb 27, 2010 11:35AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments
What:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye

Author: J.D. Salinger J.D. Salinger

When: The Discussion will begin on March 1, 2010.
We will discuss the book for one month, however the thread will remain open for discussion after that.

Where: This thread

Spoiler Etiquette: Please put the chapter # at the top of your post.

Product Details:
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books (January 30, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316769177

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Catcher-Rye-J-D...

synopsis:


Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America's literary treasures.

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists.

The influential and widely acclaimed story details the two days in the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield after he has been expelled from prep school. Confused and disillusioned, he searches for truth and rails against the "phoniness" of the adult world.


message 2: by Alias Reader (last edited Feb 27, 2010 11:40AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments Author Bio:

Jerome David Salinger

January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010) was an American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature. His last original published work was in 1965; he gave his last interview in 1980. Raised in Manhattan, Salinger began writing short stories while in secondary school, and published several stories in the early 1940s before serving in World War II. In 1948 he published the critically acclaimed story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" in The New Yorker magazine, which became home to much of his subsequent work. In 1951 Salinger released his novel The Catcher in the Rye, an immediate popular success. His depiction of adolescent alienation and loss of innocence in the protagonist Holden Caulfield was influential, especially among adolescent readers.[2:] The novel remains widely read and controversial,[3:] selling around 250,000 copies a year.

The success of The Catcher in the Rye led to public attention and scrutiny: Salinger became reclusive, publishing new work less frequently. He followed Catcher with a short story collection, Nine Stories (1953), a collection of a novella and a short story, Franny and Zooey (1961), and a collection of two novellas, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963). His last published work, a novella entitled "Hapworth 16, 1924", appeared in The New Yorker on June 19, 1965.

Afterward, Salinger struggled with unwanted attention, including a legal battle in the 1980s with biographer Ian Hamilton and the release in the late 1990s of memoirs written by two people close to him: Joyce Maynard, an ex-lover; and Margaret Salinger, his daughter. In 1996, a small publisher announced a deal with Salinger to publish "Hapworth 16, 1924" in book form, but amid the ensuing publicity, the release was indefinitely delayed. He made headlines around the globe in June 2009, after filing a lawsuit against another writer for copyright infringement resulting from that writer's use of one of Salinger's characters from The Catcher in the Rye.[4:]

Salinger died of natural causes on January 27, 2010, at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire.[5:][6:]Salinger died of natural causes at his home in New Hampshire on January 27, 2010. He was 91.[6:] Salinger's literary representative commented to The New York Times that the writer had broken his hip in May 2009, but that "his health had been excellent until a rather sudden decline after the new year."[106:] The representative believed that Salinger's death was not a painful one.[106:]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._D._Sa...


message 3: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments The publisher does not provide Discussion questions for this novel.Here are a few that I found online

Questions may contain SPOILERS

1. Discuss Holden's observations about the carousel's gold ring at the end of the novel. What is the significance of the ring? What do his observations reveal about his state of maturity? In what way has his character changed—or developed—by the end of the story?

2. Do Holden's encounters with adult hypocrisy ring true to you? Or are they more a reflection of his own deteriorating mental stability? Or both?

3. Holden seems to be reaching out for genuine intimacy in his encounters. Is he himself capable of intimacy? Are any of the other characters capable of providing it? In fact, what is intimacy—sexual and/or non-sexual?

4. What role does Phoebe play in the novel?

5. What is the significance of the title—especially the fact that Holden gets Robert Burns's poem wrong?

http://www.litlovers.com/guide_catche...


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments Got the book yesterday, and read the first 2 chapters today.

Donna


message 5: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 60 comments Thanks, Alias. Unfortunately, I have to return the book unread because it has a request on it, have to wait for another one to come back to me. I'll get to it, though.


message 6: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments I still have my copy from high school ! :)


Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) I'll read it when we return from our trip.


message 8: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments I want to finish Wolf Hall first and then I'll start Catcher. I should get to it by this weekend at the latest.

kate


message 9: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 01, 2010 05:17PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments I finshed up Kozol's book today, so I started Catcher. I just read a few pages. It's hard to read when your head is pounding and you have a cold.

I find it really rings true in the way the the main character speaks. His exaggerations and sarcasm really sound like some teens.

I don't recall the story, but wonder if Holden is a reliable narrator.


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments I've read several chapters now, and I'm waiting for something to happen....I agree that the 'voice' of the mc rings true for what I imagine a teenager would have sounded like in the 40's.

Donna


message 11: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments I'm with you both on how "real" Holden's voice is. And the labeling is typical teenagers, at least teens in the last 40 years. Have kids changed? I don't believe so.

I'm well into the book & wonder what you think about the adults. He seems to think they believe his comments & i suspect i did too, when i was younger. Having now listened to so many yarns by young people, i imagine the adults had him figured out fairly quickly but were too polite to let him know, unless it was their job, as in a waiter not giving him liquor.

deborah


message 12: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments I just finished chapter 9 and I'm really into the book. It's a real quick read. I've lol more than once. I like how Holden says he can't be bothered, when he really means he is scared.

It reminds me of the tough kid from The Breakfast Club. He said that when he was going to beat up Emilo Estevez.

Deb, do you really think the mom on the train when Holden is leaving school knew he was lying? I think Holden was right. She wanted to hear good things about her son. I had to lol with the whoppers he was telling her.

It's a shame that such a talented person as Salinger choice to become a recluse and not write. It's sad the way stardom sometimes can ruin a life. I'm thinking of Elvis or other famous people that have to live very limited lives because of their fame. I don't envy them.

Has anyone read a bio on Salinger that explains his reasons for not writing and withdrawing?


message 13: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Deb, do you really think the mom on the train when Holden is leaving school knew he was lying? I think Holden was right. She wanted to hear good things about her son. I had to lol with the whoppers he was telling her...."

At first i think she believed what he was saying. Later, her silence indicated to me that she was beginning to question his statements. Of course it could be read that she was stunned into silence, learning these things about her son. However, when people tell me things about my children, i used to be able to differentiate between how they were stretching things & what seemed true. Otoh, these kids didn't really live with their families while at boarding school, so maybe i'm off base. How's that for covering all sides? LOL

I am almost finished with the book and have found it a quick reading experience. One can see why Salinger didn't want a movie made of the book. It would be the ultimate in phoniness in HC's mind, wouldn't it?

deborah


message 14: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 03, 2010 07:19PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments madrano wrote: ". How's that for covering all sides? LOL
------------------
Well, as long as you stand by your convictions. :)
-------------------
Madrano: I am almost finished with the book and have found it a quick reading experience. One can see why Salinger didn't want a movie made of the book. It would be the ultimate in phoniness in HC's mind, wouldn't it?
."

-----------------

:) Yes, good catch on the movie and Holden, Deb.

I've read about half of the book and I am enjoying it. Or should I say "it kills me." :)

How do you feel about Holden?

I feel sorry for him. I guess that is one reason the book is popular. He makes his way into your heart. He seems so vulnerable.


message 15: by madrano (last edited Mar 04, 2010 07:35AM) (new)

madrano | 11688 comments END OF BOOK, trying to control spoilers but one is mentioned early on in the book

LOL--"it kills me", Alias.

Last night i finished reading the book. I feel sorry for Holden, too, more so by the end. Handling his brother's death, sort of in the background, tore at my heartstrings & i found myself interpreting his actions & words with that in mind. However, he made it clear that this behavior was going on long before Allie died.

I'm going to hold off on answering the questions in Message 3 a day or two, as there are spoilers. However, i mostly feel Holden is a fairly typical teenager but different in that he A) has more to deal with than many teens and B) due to his mental health shares more out loud than most.

deborah


message 16: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 04, 2010 08:33AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments Deb, was Catcher a re-read for you or a new experience?

I read it in jr. high school, so I only recall tiny bits. It's actually funny. I recall no plot. However, Holden saying, "that kills me" and his hat rekindle a memory. Funny what the mind retains.

I'm up to chapter 15.


message 17: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments Alias, this was a rereading for me, however, even my initial read was later than most people. I first read it when i was in my late 20s. It reminded me of my youth in that my best friend, Barf, & i were always railing against "phonies." My daughter was an infant when i read it, so i couldn't really view it from a parental POV at the time, unlike this go 'round.

I don't think this is a Real Spoiler, so i'm sharing it here. When he was a teen, i encouraged my son to read this novel, which he did. It was one of the few he really, really liked. After rereading it, i need to ask him if this is where he got the idea of constantly changing his middle name.

I think he began it before he read the book, as he has no middle name. (We did this because his last name is mine & DH's.) SO, he began creating his own. At first (oh dear, this is complicated in the retelling), we named him Trent. Then, a few months later we realized we hated it, so changed it. Well, when he heard this, he began using Trent as his middle name. Next he used just the initial "T." The longest time he had a middle name it was the initial "X". LOL! SO, to see Phoebe doing the same triggered that memory. Smilingly.

deborah


message 18: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments :) I am not sure if you have more than one son. His name is Noah, correct ? I really love that name.


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments We used to live next to a little boy who's first name was "Z." He had a middle and last name. His parents called him "Ziggy" as a nickname when he was little, but her preferred "Z" as he got older.

Names are such an important part of your life, aren't they? I often worry about the kids today whose parents either give them a common name, but mis-spell it, for they'll have go though life saying, no, that's not the way you spell it. Then there are all these 'made up' names, especially the ones with an accent mark in them. What can these parents be thinking?!?

Donna in Southern Maryland (common spelling)


message 20: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments While i understand what you are saying, Donna, i must say i've gone through the "correct" spelling of my name too often to count. Even when i pronounce it clearly with 3 syllables.

I like the apostrophed & accented names--it makes ordinary names seem fun. Of course i also used to spell my name Debbe, so you can see where i'm coming from.

Alias, yes, Noah is his name. Quite a hop from Trent.

deborah, who also knew a Debi in '67.


message 21: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I have a difficult last name and I am used to spelling it automatically however I have known people with what I think are easy last names and they still get it spelled wrong. Who knows??

Of course in my case -- I have people ask me how to spell my first name. I usually say -- Barbara before Streisand.

Barbara


message 22: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments chapter 17 - not a spoiler

In this chapter, Sally says, "Lets go ice-skating at Radio City."

Huh ? Radio City is a movie/stage show place.

Was there at one time ice-skating there?

I also noted the the Old English spelling of heighth is used a few times. Why ?

Sorry I should have noted the page but did not, - maybe if anyone else is reading the book besides Deb and I, she can give me a page # - a few times H says something like, I and phoebe went to the zoo. Is that correct ? If not, why does Salinger have H say that? It sounded very wrong to my ear, but maybe that is the correct way to say it.


message 23: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments Bobbie57 wrote: "Of course in my case -- I have people ask me how to spell my first name. I usually say -- Barbara before Streisand. ..."

Good one, Barbara. This would help much, i think.

deborah


message 24: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments Alias, isn't it funny that you thought that about Radio City? I just assumed he meant Rockefeller Plaza. Only New Yorkers would catch that, i bet.

I missed the spelling of heighth & wonder if that depends on the edition one has. Mine is Little Brown Books & i'm fairly certain they didn't spell it that way but i'm not positive, as we know our minds fill in those errors.

And there were several language issues i had with his use of pronouns. I noted the one you shared but recall a double take on another one, too. Salinger's "out" could be that it's a teenager "talking", so errors would be blamed on his age. The fact that he was supposed to be good at grammar & composition makes me wonder, however. Maybe language has changed even from then.

One thing i noted about the grammar was that several times different characters left out articles such as "the" or "a". The result was the sentences sounded strange to my inner ear. It was only in dialogue, however, not in the prose itself. If one character did it, i'd figure that was their trait. However, several did it. I wondered if that was a sort of "fad" in talking back then? I've not come across it previously.

deborah


message 25: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments It was common "back in the day" to call that whole complex Radio City. And you have seen on the Today Show when they have the ice skaters in front of the statue. That is where it has always been.

I hadn't thought about it but most of us wouldn't have called that Rockefeller Plaza. Not sure when they started that usage more.

In the building behind the statue there used to be more studios where there were radio and Tv broadcasts. And there were tours. Still are -- but obvioiusly not that much. I remember seeing TV for the first time there. It was actually somewhat experimental. Some people went into a room and we went into a room next door and oohed and aahed at the fact that we could then see them on a little black and white box. Must have been in the 1940s.

So there was much more of the sensibility of Radio Broadcasting, NBC, RCA -- etc. Which still would have carried over to the 1950s.

Sorry to be so wordy.

Barbara


message 26: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 05, 2010 08:23AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments madrano wrote: "I missed the spelling of heighth & wonder if that depends on the edition one has. Mine is Little Brown Books & i'm fairly certain they didn't spell it that way but i'm not positive, as we know our minds fill in those errors.

And there were several language issues i had with his use of pronouns. I noted the one you shared but recall a double take on another one, too. Salinger's "out" could be that it's a teenager "talking", so errors would be blamed on his age. The fact that he was supposed to be good at grammar & composition makes me wonder, however. Maybe language has changed even from then.."

----------------------

I know I saw this spelling at least 2 times. "heighth" I am reading a Bantam Book. It's quite old. It shows the last printing as 1966. The book is priced at .75 cents.

As for saying something such as, "I and Deborah"
I could be wrong, I am grammar challenged, but it seems that this was always wrong. Isn't the rule that you always put yourself last when listing people ?

As you note, H is supposed to be know for his ability with the language. English is one class he is doing very well in. He is also a product of tony schools. So it seems that this was deliberate on Salinger's part. I just can't figure out what it means? Maybe I'll look and see if there is any commentary on the book online.


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments madrano wrote: "While i understand what you are saying, Donna, i must say i've gone through the "correct" spelling of my name too often to count. Even when i pronounce it clearly with 3 syllables.

I like the apo..."


My maiden name was "Brown," so that was a fairly easy one. My husband's "EYE-talian" last name stops people cold in their tracks. It's funny. When we were on our first date, I asked him his last name, and spelled it right out. He said that's one of the reasons he married me. :o)

For ladies of a certain age, Donna and Deborah are very common names, just like Steven and John. I remember there were multiples of these names back in school. One thing I find interesting, Deb, is that in this area, I've encountered many African American women who pronounce their name Deb-BORE-ah. Of course, I call you Deb-rah, with the accent on the Deb.

Donna, who is glad that old fashioned names, like Emma, Sophia, Olivia, and Grace have come back into fashion

PS. I was always taught to mention myself last in a list of people, as in "Deborah and me," or "Deborah and I." (Me or I) usage still gives me pause sometimes!


message 28: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments Deb, I've found one instance of "Heighth" In your edition is it spelled this way?

It is at the end of chapter 3

"No, but I don't want you stretching it with your goddam shoulders and all," I said. We were practically the same heighth, but he weighed about twice as much as I did. He had these very broad shoulders."

I just realized goddam is also spelled incorrectly
Shouldn't it be goddamn.

Another word that he repeatedly says also seems odd to me. "Crumby" He would say for example, "that is a crumby thing to do."

My Webster's defines Crumby as full of crumbs.

Crummy is defined as- dirty, cheap shabby, inferior and contemptible.

Perhaps this is all to show Holden is not as sophisticated as he tries to make people think.


message 29: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments Darn! I returned the book to the library. I'll check next time i'm in there. I remember the sentence but didn't notice the spelling.

You are right about the other spellings. Crumby was an odd one for me. I always spell it crummy but now wonder if that is a new spelling. Maybe it's meant to illustrate the Holden knew the jargon but wasn't really into it--something he picked up from others but didn't fully understand?

deborah


message 30: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 06, 2010 04:46AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments I finished the book last night. I enjoyed it and gave it a 3. My rating for a solid read.

Thanks for reading it with me, Deb. It was nice to have someone to chat about it with.

Another odd one was in chapter 21.
Holden regarding his mom said.
"she has ears like a bloodhound"
Isn't the phrase, nose like a bloodhound?

Did you think Mr. Antolini was about to do something? I'm not sure.

What did you think of Holden unconsciously substituting "catcher" for "meet" ?

I have to admit I teared up a bit at the end. Especially when Holden started to cry when he was with his sister.


message 31: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments I'm glad you too are unsure whether Mr. Antolini was going to do something. I don't think so, despite calling Holden "handsome" the way he did. In fact, i think, if anything, Mr. A saw his younger self in HC. The speech was almost as though he were warning the teenager of things he'd observed in his life, things he only now sees.

Additionally, because he knew HC's parents, he was aware of the brother's death & Holden's violent reaction in the garage. Coupled with the campus death of James Castle (wearing Holden's sweater, no less!), the teacher could better understand the emotions the young man was trying to handle. I felt Mr. A was reaching out to Holden the way he would to a son.

Of course i could be wrong & the reason he married his wife was to hide his homosexuality. Or worse. It just didn't come across that way to me.

Good point about the bloodhound comment. I thought he was trying to be amusing. As in all the cases we've mentioned, it may be Salinger's way of illustrating how young people hear phrases & get them a bit muddled.

As for the substituting, how interesting. Frankly, i do that sometimes, too. It may be a bit of human nature, to substitute words which call to us, rather than what is actually written.

Upon further consideration, however, i think it ties into Allie's baseball mitt, the one Holden wrote about in the essay for his roommate. With that in mind & the way he viewed catching children who were in danger, i think it is a beautiful sort of metaphor, if you will allow me to use the word that way. It fits with his own life & it fits with the way teens often view the world, as something they are still coping/hoping to understand.

deborah


message 32: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments Questions may contain SPOILERS

1. Discuss Holden's observations about the carousel's gold ring at the end of the novel. What is the significance of the ring? What do his observations reveal about his state of maturity? In what way has his character changed—or developed—by the end of the story?


I thought it was significant that while "old Phoebe" was reaching for the ring, we realize Holden was too. He was getting a grasp on his situation & the way he viewed life. It was well done, imo.

By the end he came to realize you cannot really "catch" kids (or others, but his focus was children), they must fall. Whether he realized that this is where the Real Work begins, i think Salinger suggests.

As an aside, i'd like to mention that i've never seen a brass ring on a carousel. However, i remember reading about one. After JFK died, i followed Jackie like my life depended on her well being. One of the small articles still in my memory was of her taking her children to that carousel in Central Park (is it still there? I'll have to look for it!) The point of the article was that she asked one of the attendants where the brass ring was. He informed her it was removed, for safety reasons. Then he added it was removed long ago, which seemed to make the point she was out of touch, in some way. ANYway, that's the only reason i know what the brass ring was.

2. Do Holden's encounters with adult hypocrisy ring true to you? Or are they more a reflection of his own deteriorating mental stability? Or both?

I felt these were valid observations on HC's part. Most teenagers see & react to hypocrisy, and it helps them recognize their own...sometimes, that is. I'm trying to think of an example where he is directly rude when he observes adult hypocrisy. I'm now thinking that it was all mental, that he still didn't misbehave toward the person, only thought poorly of them. Am i forgetting?

It seems a mark of his deteriorating mental capacity that he seems to dwell on it quite a bit, however. I wonder how he behaved other times he was kicked out of school. Is this just the age during which he's come to observe such things? If so, then maybe it isn't as overboard as it appears.

Goodreads isn't letting me continue here, so i'll move to another post.

deborah


message 33: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments 3. Holden seems to be reaching out for genuine intimacy in his encounters. Is he himself capable of intimacy? Are any of the other characters capable of providing it? In fact, what is intimacy—sexual and/or non-sexual?

In my opinion Holden is at an age (as are most of the teenaged characters) when he's trying to figure out what genuine intimacy is. While he turned to adults he liked, such as the old prof (Spenser, was it?) and Mr. Antolini, and tried to share, he wasn't surprised that they really only wanted to set him on the right path.

When reaching out to friends, clumsy as those attempts were, i think he already had roadblocks to his secret self. The closest was Sally, with whom he declared he wanted to run away. Yet again, he hears instead the "right path" sort of reply.

The rest of my response to this question is in the next question's reply.


4. What role does Phoebe play in the novel?

Holden reached out to Phoebe for many reasons. I think she was his anchor, but also his responsibility, in a way. The intimacy he had with her was proven when she didn't inform their mother that he was home. So, there is a sort of strong intimacy there. However, it's just not the same. Even Holden knew that, i think.

As to her role in the novel, it seems major, as it is with her that he learns much about himself, particularly about the "Catcher" idea. She is the road to sanity and the best pal he could want. By deciding to leave with him, she pulled him back to the real world. In fact, it occurs to me, SHE is the Catcher in the Rye. Hmmm. I'll have to ponder that some more, as this is the first time i've considered that.

Btw, when an acquaintance learned i was reread this novel, i asked what he remembered. One of the few things he recalled was that, "He had a crush on his sister." Well, since i didn't even remember the sister from my first reading, i had my eye open for this. It seems my friend had that All Wrong, imo.

5. What is the significance of the title—especially the fact that Holden gets Robert Burns's poem wrong?

I kinda mentioned this two posts up when i discussed Allie's mitt. I'm now tying that into my comment about Phoebe being the actual catcher.

deborah, awaiting YOUR replies to the questions!


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments In #28, Alias said: Another word that he repeatedly says also seems odd to me. "Crumby" He would say for example, "that is a crumby thing to do."

My Webster's defines Crumby as full of crumbs.

Crummy is defined as- dirty, cheap shabby, inferior and contemptible.

Perhaps this is all to show Holden is not as sophisticated as he tries to make people think.


Looks like my copy was printed in 2001. I'm now in Chapter 15, but I went back to find "crumby."

In my copy, it's on page 81 in Chapter 9. He's in the hotel, and talking about watching other people's activities through their windows...the cross dresser and the young couple "squirting water out of their mouths at each other." On the next page he says: " Sometimes I can think of very crumby stuff I wouldn't mind doing if the opportunity came up.I can see how it might be a lot of fun, in a crumby way, if you were both drunk and all, to get a girl and squirt water or something all over each other's face. ......Girls aren't too much help, either, when you start trying to not get too crumby, when you start trying not to spoil anything really good. I knew this one girl, a couple of years ago, that was even crumbier than I was."......

As I read this, and even on a little further, I think that even though he used the word 'horny' earlier, I think he is using this word "crumby" in a sexual context. Trying to go back in my mind and remember this time in teen years when you were trying to be so cool, when you didn't want to admit what you didn't know, what you hadn't done, the excitement of what you may have done so far........particularly from a boy's point of view. I think it just shows his confusion.

I have had what I consider an absolute gift.....reconnecting with a teenage love with whom I had sex. I can tell you that there were so many things we were unsure of, both physically and emotionally. To be able to talk (or write) now openly and honestly and to try to answer some of those questions that had haunted us all those years, well, they've brought both of us comfort. I'm sure that's why this passage spoke to me on such a personal level.

During his night in the hotel, in addition to everything else he is facing, sexuality - his, and others - is brought to the forefront. How interesting that he didn't engage with the prostitute. Why? Confusion? Panic? Just being overwhelmed with the night? Wish I had one of those "Cliff Notes" books! :o)

Donna in Southern Maryland


message 35: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments Barbara said I have a difficult last name and I am used to spelling it automatically however I have known people with what I think are easy last names and they still get it spelled wrong. Who knows??

My last name is Italian and I always spell it immediately after saying it if I'm speaking to someone on the phone. In fact, my oldest son thought that was his last name when he was very small. For example, if my last name was Smith, Jeff would tell people he was Jeff Smith-S-m-i-t-h. It took him a while to learn that he didnt' have to say the letters too.

Kate


message 36: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments I started Catcher today and am about 100 pages in. I'm struck by how many gross physcial scenes there are at the boarding school early on. I found myself grimacing several times. It struck me that it was the perfect voice for an adolescent boy. They are so fascinated with body issues.

kate


message 37: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments At first i think she believed what he was saying. Later, her silence indicated to me that she was beginning to question his statements. Of course it could be read that she was stunned into silence, learning these things about her son. However, when people tell me things about my children, i used to be able to differentiate between how they were stretching things & what seemed true. Otoh, these kids didn't really live with their families while at boarding school, so maybe i'm off base. How's that for covering all sides? LOL


I took her silence to mean that she was beginning to question the stories Holden was telling about himself, primarily the brain tumor. I thought she probably realized she was being played and chose silence as a way to save face. As for whether she realized he was lying about her son, I'll bet she didn't want to examine that one too carefully. It was probably easier and certainly more comforting to believe what he told her about her son.

Kate


message 38: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Donna in Southern Maryland wrote: "In #28, Alias said: Another word that he repeatedly says also seems odd to me. "Crumby" He would say for example, "that is a crumby thing to do."

My Webster's defines Crumby as full of crumbs.

Cr..."


We kind of used the crumby slangily in that time period. And now that I have typed it -- I thought we said crummy. But anyway -- as in that wasn't a nice thing to do which didn't sound "cool."

Barbara


message 39: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments madrano wrote: "Upon further consideration, however, i think it ties into Allie's baseball mitt, the one Holden wrote about in the essay for his roommate. With that in mind & the way he viewed catching children who were in danger, i think it is a beautiful sort of metaphor, if you will allow me to use the word that way. It fits with his own life & it fits with the way teens often view the world, as something they are still coping/hoping to understand.
=====================

Deb, I didn't make the connection to the baseball mitt at all. What an excellent observation ! It's indeed beautiful.


message 40: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments 1. Discuss Holden's observations about the carousel's gold ring at the end of the novel. What is the significance of the ring? What do his observations reveal about his state of maturity? In what way has his character changed—or developed—by the end of the story?

Deborah: I thought it was significant that while "old Phoebe" was reaching for the ring, we realize Holden was too. He was getting a grasp on his situation & the way he viewed life. It was well done, imo.
-------------------------------------------------

Holden refused to get on the merry-go-round. Also an apt metaphor for (life- kids, marriage, job, death) . He didn't want to become an adult. He was trying to hold on to his childhood. So he refused to reach out for the "brass ring" - by doing well in school- going to college- etc.) There is a section where Holden says he doesn't want to be on a bus going to work, reading the newspaper etc. --in the dog race- going for the brass ring.

Yes, the carousel (merry-go-round) is still there .

Interesting about there being a brass ring on it at one time. I didn't know that.

Here is a good link to acquaint yourself with all the attractions in Central Park.

http://www.centralpark.com/pages/attr...

The Carousel in Central Park

Details: $2 for a 3 and a half minute ride.
Open daily April–November, 10:00am-6:00pm, weather permitting
Open weekends November-April 10:00am-4:30pm, weather permitting
Information : 212-879-0244

As the park spins by and the calliope tootles, it is easy to imagine yourself at a country fair miles outside the urban confines of New York City. The original park carousel opened in 1871 and was powered by a blind mule and a horse who walked a treadmill in an underground pit. It almost immediately became one of the park’s most popular attractions and remains so to this day, with almost 250,000 riders a year. Originally the park commissioners had frowned upon commercial enterprises in the Park, but they eventually saw the popular attractions as valuable assets. They also recognized income that the city earned on the carousel’s operation as a welcome source of needed revenue.

The current carousel, the fourth to exist on this site, was built in 1951 thanks to a contribution by the Michael Firedsam Foundation. It was discovered after an exhaustive search by the Parks Department, abandoned in an old trolley terminal on Coney Island. One of the country's largest merry-go-rounds, it features fifty-eight hand-carved, brightly caparisoned horses and two ornate chariots. Wonderful examples of folk art, they were made by Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein in 1908.

Around the turn of the century a steam-powered carousel replaced the animal-powered original, to the relief of animal lovers everywhere. That carousel was destroyed by fire in 1924, as was the subsequent model in 1950. Further renovation was made in 1982 with a donation from Alan and Katherine Stroock "in return for many happy go rounds."

Visitors will want to check out the wrought iron fence that surrounds the open Carousel sides; small, brightly-painted horses are depicted on a band around the fence.


message 41: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments Donna in Southern Maryland
Wish I had one of those "Cliff Notes" books! :o)
--------------------------------------------------

Here you go. It's interesting their take on events in different than how I felt. For example, both Deb and I felt that Holden's observations regarding the "phoniness" was for the most part on target. They seem to think not.

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/catcher/


message 42: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments Post #25 Bobbie57 wrote:
"It was common "back in the day" to call that whole complex Radio City. And you have seen on the Today Show when they have the ice skaters in front of the statue. That is where it has always been.I hadn't thought about it but most of us wouldn't have called that Rockefeller Plaza. Not sure when they started that usage more...."

-------------------------

Thanks for clarifying that, Barbara. I've always used Rockefeller Plaza for where the rink is.


message 43: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments madrano wrote: Post #32
. Do Holden's encounters with adult hypocrisy ring true to you? Or are they more a reflection of his own deteriorating mental stability? Or both?

I felt these were valid observations on HC's part. Most teenagers see & react to hypocrisy, and it helps them recognize their own...sometimes, that is. I'm trying to think of an example where he is directly rude when he observes adult hypocrisy. I'm now thinking that it was all mental, that he still didn't misbehave toward the person, only thought poorly of them.

It seems a mark of his deteriorating mental capacity that he seems to dwell on it quite a bit, however. I wonder how he behaved other times he was kicked out of school. Is this just the age during which he's come to observe such things? If so, then maybe it isn't as overboard as it appears.."

--------------------

I felt his observations rang true. The only time I felt Holden may have been off the mark was with Mr. Antolini. Though after little sleep, stress of being kicked out of school and I think the normal teenage boys uptight attitude toward homosexuality, I wouldn't say his reaction to Mr. A was a sign of mental illness.

Speaking of his mental illness. Do you think it was a bit extreme that he was institutionalized? I did. Maybe that is the way things were done than.

It's also interesting that my attitude toward Holden is so very different than Sparks Notes. I do like reading the notes after I read the book or a handful of chapters to see if I am on the same track as they are, especially with older classics.

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/catcher/


message 44: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments post # 33 madrano wrote:

3. Holden seems to be reaching out for genuine intimacy in his encounters. Is he himself capable of intimacy? Are any of the other characters capable of providing it? In fact, what is intimacy—sexual and/or non-sexual?

In my opinion Holden is at an age (as are most of the teenaged characters) when he's trying to figure out what genuine intimacy is. While he turned to adults he liked, such as the old prof (Spenser, was it?) and Mr. Antolini, and tried to share, he wasn't surprised that they really only wanted to set him on the right path.
--------------------

I agree with you, deb. He is still finding his way in life. He hasn't figured himself out yet. One needs to do this first.


message 45: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 07, 2010 09:53AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments post # 33 madrano wrote:

What role does Phoebe play in the novel?

Holden reached out to Phoebe for many reasons. I think she was his anchor, but also his responsibility, in a way. The intimacy he had with her was proven when she didn't inform their mother that he was home. So, there is a sort of strong intimacy there. However, it's just not the same. Even Holden knew that, i think.
-----------------------------

I see it a bit different. First, I disagree totally with your friend about having a crush on her.

I think Holden connected with her because she was still an innocent kid. And that is what he wanted to still be. Most of the adult people he came in contact with he though were phony or stupid. He almost didn't want to grow up. I thought his shyness and awkwardness in adult relationships was what caused him to feel this way. He used it as a shield against the pain. If they (adults and adult responsibilities) are stupid and phony, you don't have to deal with them.


message 46: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments 5. What is the significance of the title—especially the fact that Holden gets Robert Burns's poem wrong?

------------------

I've changed my mind to your opinion, Deb. I really like the connection you made to Ally's mitt.

Before that I thought that the change to "Catcher" where his job would be to catch children before they fall (become adults?) instead of "meeting" them on a adult level was another example of Holden's not wanting to grow up. He replied the Catcher in the Rye was the job he wanted. A reply much like his other fanciful, some may say adolescent, ideas such as: running off with that girl, or living in a cabin in the woods, or getting a ranch job out west.

By the way here is the full poem

Comin Thro the Rye

O, Jenny's a' weet, poor body,
Jenny's seldom dry;
She draigl't a' her petticoattie
Comin thro' the rye.

Chorus:
Comin thro the rye, poor body,
Comin thro the rye,
She draigl't a'her petticoatie,
Comin thro the rye!

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body,[r:] Need a body cry?

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro the glen,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need the warld ken?

http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/398-Robert...


message 47: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 07, 2010 10:10AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18896 comments Post # 34 Donna in Southern Maryland wrote:

"During his night in the hotel, in addition to everything else he is facing, sexuality - his, and others - is brought to the forefront. How interesting that he didn't engage with the prostitute. Why? Confusion? Panic?."
.
-----------------

I thought it was because it conflicted with his subconscious desire to remain an innocent child.


message 48: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments Donna in Southern Maryland wrote: "As I read this, and even on a little further, I think that even though he used the word 'horny' earlier, I think he is using this word "crumby" in a sexual context. Trying to go back in my mind and remember this time in teen years when you were trying to be so cool..."

Donna, thank you for this insight into "crumby". I think it fits better than the way we view the word "crummy". And it indicates that Holden realizes sex can be healthy but that spitting water at a partner may be a part of sex, but an uncomfortable (therefore crumby) one. Or maybe it's this way every time he uses the word. He knows there is a "good" way to look at something but the "off" way, while not "bad" is "crumby." Hmmm. I'll have to think about this more in context of how he used it.

deborah


message 49: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments kate/Edukate12 wrote: "I took her silence to mean that she was beginning to question the stories Holden was telling about himself, primarily the brain tumor. I thought she probably realized she was being played and chose silence as a way to save face. As for whether she realized he was lying about her son, I'll bet she didn't want to examine that one too carefully. It was probably easier and certainly more comforting to believe what he told her about her son...."

Kate, the more i think about this, i find myself agreeing with you about the woman. Thanks for the input.

deborah


message 50: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments Alias Reader wrote: "1. Discuss Holden's observations about the carousel's gold ring at the end of the novel. What is the significance of the ring? What do his observations reveal about his state of maturity? In what w..."

Alias, thank you for the info on the carousel at Central Park. I'm going to check that out!

deb


« previous 1 3
back to top