What Motivated Me to Write This Post Is That I’m Bored and Don’t Have Enough to do Already Without Having to Rant About Catcher in the Rye

Guys,

You all need to read Catcher in the Rye. If you haven’t already, then go to the library and get it, breaking in if necessary, and then go sit on one of the research tables and cry about your dead cat.

It’s probably not the best book you’ll ever read, particularly if your critical analysis skills aren’t too keen, but it’s very revealing about human nature and motivation. Holden, you see, is a really fucked up guy–who wouldn’t be, if their last name was Caulfield?–and really bad at expressing his feelings. He doesn’t say, “Oh, this reminds me of Jane and thinking about Jane makes me sad;” or, “Oh, I’m really immature and I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life;” instead he says juicy characters lines like, “That depressed the hell out of me.”  It’s awesome because that’s what it’s like in real life. People do stuff for completely irrational and non-apparent reasons that they don’t even know about half the time.

You might go to a vending machine everyday, for instance, because you know that a cute girl walks by there and you’re trying to get up the courage to ask her out even though the surface motivation is thirst. Catcher in the Rye is nothing but Holden doing things for one reason while secretly having a much sadder, heartrending reason. I think the reason his reasons are so heartrending, though, is because you don’t know why he does things unless you put yourself in his shoes. It’s a fancy way of the author getting you to sympathize with Holden. He doesn’t rip your heart apart all at once, the way Marquez does with One Hundred Years of Solitude–he does it bit by bit, every time you connect with Holden. It’s sick and cruel, but you can’t help but reading on because he’s already reeled you in to his clever trap.

~~La Stranezza

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