BOOKS/FILMS/AUTHORS--USEM4--1999

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

I developed a relation with Holden as the book progressed, not because I knew him, but because I have known and experienced many of the disappointments Holden has.

The Catcher in the Rye is a book in which we watch someone fall over the edge.

The Catcher in the Rye is, in one way or another, the story of every adolescent in this country. Every young person in America has experienced the hurt and depression that Holden Caulfield goes through.

As a college freshman only three weeks into a completely new environment, Holden . . . has taught me about relating to people. His lesson is not a positive one, though; it is a study in what NOT to do.

This character represents everything that society wasn't supposed to be in the late 1950s (when the book was released) and probably represented the reality of the minds of Americans. . . . This new insight gave me greater understanding of the book, its purpose and reflection of the "real" society behind the smiles and good life. However, I did not learn where the ducks go in the winter when the lake freezes over. That is still a mystery.

Holden is essentially a loner, but not because he dislikes people. His loneliness arises from the fact that no one seems to share his view of the world, no one understands what's going on in his head.

I, like everyone else, went through such a stage, but . . . . emotionally, I was "along for the ride" as opposed to Holden, who felt every small emotion that popped up inside of him.

One question that the reading and the class discussion raised is what would happen if Holden lived in the 1990s instead of the 1950s?

I became interested in tracing Holden's spending of money and the comments that he makes about his father being a rich lawyer and then in the same chapter saying "goddamn money. It always ends up making you blue as hell" (113). Though it seems like a background issue, there may be more to it than that. His attitudes towards and his own spending of money are somehow pivotal to the action of this story.

Through my thoughts on Mr. Antolini's message, I . . . contemplate if I too am in the proper environment. If the Brandeis community is the place where Mark Tapper, the individual, will flourish into a more educated person.