Thursday, June 5, 2014

the CATCHER in the RYE

The Catcher in the Rye, a novel by J. D. Salinger, is regarded as a classic. It has been in and out of controversies since it was first published in 1951. 
The picture below illustrates the happiest moment in narrator's memory, watching his cute little sister Phoebe go round and round in the carousel. I got it from Andrew's blog

As I read the first line of the last chapter, 'THAT'S ALL I'm going to tell you about', like a shot, a void hit my heart. I did not want this story to end so fast. As in, I wanted to know at least a little more. I, sort of, started liking Holden Caufield by the end of the play. I actually started liking him sometime into the start itself, to tell the truth. The way he jumped from one tale to another amused me, and how he made silly cynical comments about everything. It made me laugh. I kept wondering why people call this book depressing. He kept describing everything around as lousy or phony, and guys he didn't like, as pimpy and all. Funny he was. I sort of felt sorry for him sometimes because he just didn't like anything around him. But the way he kept describing them made him, only, more amusing. How much he loved his cute little sister, Phoebe, would only make you love him more. But he kept feeling dizzy all along. That made me sad.

All long the story you feel as if he is telling you every little bit about his life. But he is not. The darkest side of his life is hidden till the end. He is depressed and all, but only very late into the story do you get a hint of why is he so depressed. Antolini, the teacher, petting/patting over his head scares a hell out of him. And how he reacts scares a hell out of me. Trust me. I know that feeling. Whether Antolini is at fault or not is a completely different story, but what Holden might have gone through is clearly hinted here. This dark side of human race is so unfortunate. I wonder why the hell God made world this way. 

Holden steals my heart here.

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I'm 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 they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all.  

Didn't he? All he wants to do in life is save these little kids from falling down while they are playing in the field of rye. Deep down, it reflects his own state. For all the time he had been falling into the abyss of angst, he wished someone was there to catch him and to save him. 

For seldom he appreciates things around him, but when he does the simplicity and innocence of it is an absolute stealer. 

Every time he was about to puke, it made me think he is about to die. I was quite sure he would die at the end of the story, to tell the truth, given people had told me the story is very depressing and all. I mean its kind of sad but not depressing. Mark David Chapman found it so depressing(read inspiring) that he murdered John Lennon ?? :O , I still don't get that! Caulfield was all along such an nice guy.
What might have been the case is that, may be Lennon was into some wrong business and David knew about it, and so he wanted to play the savior by putting an end to Lennon's life. It just made me suspicious, for trust me such dark truths are easiest to hide. Nobody wants to talk about it openly as it makes them feel undignified. Also there is never a tangible proof and the truth is ugly. 

But I wonder if he, I mean Holden, had always been depressed that way all his life or did some drastic sequence of events in past had a profound impact on his impressionable mind. I even wonder if he ever had his food properly. I still wonder. He felt dizzy all the time. I guess all he needed was to be taken care of. A little more love and happiness and immense amount of family care would have been a more transforming decision than sending him to the asylum. 

He was such a bright and nice boy.

p.s: there are certain moments in the story that are so amazing, like when Phoebe comes with her suitcase and all. Phoebe is an absolute delight. All moments with her are amazing actually :)
p.s: I used to think classics are all hi-fi stuffs ( I always think of everything as hi-fi ) and I have to be all scholarly to understand that and all. If this is what classics are, I am in for some more. 
p.s: I am listening to : Baarish from Yaariyan, beautiful song. :)

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