J D Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye (Bloom's Guides) by J. D. Salinger, Harold Bloom

By J. D. Salinger, Harold Bloom

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Extra info for J D Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye (Bloom's Guides)

Example text

One of Holden’s recurrent activities is waking people up—his dormitory mates at Pencey, Sally Hayes, Phoebe, the Antolinis, Sunny, and Faith Cavendish; but Holden himself is not fully awake to himself and to the world. The principal setting of the novel, New York City, is the spiritual wasteland of Isaiah; it is associated with Biblical places which in the prophetic literature are traditional images of the bondage of man before the Incarnation: Babylon, SodomGomorrha, and Egypt. The Babylon-New York association is not new.

Salinger’s first and only novel, The Catcher in the Rye (1951), has undergone in recent years a steady if over insistent devaluation. The more it becomes academically respectable, the more it becomes fair game for those critics who are selfsworn to expose every manifestation of what seems to them a chronic disparity between appearance and reality. It is critical child’s play to find fault with Salinger’s novel. Anyone can see that the prose is mannered (the pejorative word for stylized); no one actually talks like its first-person hero Holden Caulfield.

If they fall off, they fall off, but it’s bad if you say anything to them” Chapter 25 ends with Holden having achieved a newfound happiness. Chapter 26 finds Holden speaking to the analyst at some undisclosed mental health facility, saying that he cannot say much more because it is irrelevant. Holden somewhat regrets having discussed his private experiences with so many people, because in a way he misses the people he has spoken of. Hence, he concludes with this advice to his readers – “Don’t ever tell anybody anything.

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