Friday, November 22, 2019

The Catcher in the Rye - the Importance of the Title

The Catcher in the Rye - the Importance of the Title The Catcher in the Rye  is a 1951 novel by American author  J. D. Salinger. Despite some controversial themes and language, the novel and its protagonist  Holden Caulfield  have become favorites among teen and young adult readers. In the decades since its publication, The Catcher in the Rye  has become one of the most popular coming of age novels.  Below, we’ll explain the meaning of the title and review some of the famous quotations and important vocabulary from the novel. The Meaning of the Title: The Catcher in the Rye The title of The Catcher in the Rye is a reference to Comin Thro the Rye,  a Robert Burns poem and a symbol for the main characters longing to preserve the innocence  of childhood.   The first reference in the text to catcher in the rye is in Chapter 16. Holden overhears: If a body catch a body coming through the rye. Holden describes the scene (and the singer): The kid was swell. He was walking in the street, instead of on the sidewalk, but right next to the curb. He was making out like he was walking a very straight line, the way kids do, and the whole time he kept singing and humming. The episode makes him feel less depressed. But why? Is it his realization that the child is innocent- somehow pure, not phony like his parents and other adults? Then, in Chapter 22, Holden tells Phoebe: Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobodys around- nobody big, I mean- except me. And Im standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff- I mean if theyre running and they dont look where theyre going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. Thats all I do all day. Id just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know its crazy, but thats the only thing Id really like to be. I know its crazy. Holdens interpretation of the poem centers around the loss of innocence (adults and society corrupt and ruin children), and his instinctual desire to protect children (his sister in particular). Holden sees himself as the catcher in the rye. Throughout the novel, hes confronted with the realities of growing up- of violence, sexuality, and corruption (or phoniness), and he doesnt want any part of it. Holden is (in some ways) incredibly naive and innocent about worldly realities. He doesnt want to accept the world as it is, but he also feels powerless, unable to effect change. The growing-up process is almost like a runaway train, moving so fast and furiously in a direction thats beyond his control (or, even, really his comprehension). He cant do anything to stop or stall it, and he realizes that his wish to save the children is crazy- perhaps even unrealistic and impossible. Through the course of the novel, Holden is forced to come to terms with the reality of growing up- something that he struggles to accept. The Catcher in the Rye: Key Quotes What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a goodbye. I mean Ive left schools and places I didnt even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I dont care if its a sad goodbye or a bad goodbye, but when I leave a place I like to know Im leaving it. If you dont, you feel even worse.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 1I dont even know what I was running for- I guess I just felt like it.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 1It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 1People always think somethings all true.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 2People never notice anything.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 2Im the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. Its awful. If Im on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where Im goi ng, Im liable to say Im going to the opera. Its terrible.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 3 When I really worry about something, I dont just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only, I dont go. Im too worried to go. I dont want to interrupt my worrying to go.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 6All morons hate it when you call them a moron.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 6In my mind, Im probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 9Its really too bad that so much crumby stuff is a lot of fun sometimes.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 9There isnt any night club in the world you can sit in for a long time unless you can at least buy some liquor and get drunk. Or unless youre with some girl that really knocks you out.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 13Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.- J.D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye, Ch. 15 The Catcher in the Rye: Vocabulary Holden speaks to the reader in the first person, using the common slang of the fifties, which gives the book a more authentic feel. Much of the language Holden uses is considered crass or vulgar but it fits the personality of the character. However, some of the terms and phrases Holden uses are not commonly used today. Understanding the words Holden uses will give you a greater understanding of the prose. Chapters 1-5 grippe:  influenza chiffonier:  a bureau with a mirror attached falsetto:  an unnaturally high-pitched voice hounds-tooth:  a pattern of jagged checks, usually black-and-white, on fabric halitosis:  chronic bad breath phony:  a fake or insincere person   Chapters 6-10 Canasta:  a variation on the card game gin rummy incognito:  in the act of concealing ones identity jitterbug:  a very active dance style popular in the 1940s Chapters 11-15 galoshes:  waterproof boots nonchalant:  unconcerned, casual, indifferent rubberneck:  to look at or stare, to gawk, especially at something unpleasant bourgeois:  middle-class, conventional Chapters 16-20 blasà ©:  indifferent or bored, unimpressed conceited:  having a high opinion of oneself, arrogant louse:  a contemptible person; it is also the singular term for lice Chapters 21-26 digression:  a deviation from a central theme in speaking or writing cockeyed:  askew, cross-eyed pharaoh:  ancient Egyptian king bawl:  to cry

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