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The catcher in the rye by J.D Sallinger

full title  ·  The Catcher in the Rye

author  · J. D. Salinger

type of work  · Novel

genre  · Bildungsroman (coming-of-age novel)

language  · English

time and place written  · Late 1940s–early 1950s, New York

date of first publication  · July 1951; parts of the novel appeared as short stories in Collier’s, December 1945, and in The New Yorker, December 1946

narrator  · Holden Caulfield, narrating from a psychiatric facility a few months after the events of the novel

point of view  · Holden Caulfield narrates in the first person, describing what he himself sees and experiences, providing his own commentary on the events and people he describes.

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The catcher in the rye

tone  · Holden’s tone varies between disgust, cynicism, bitterness, and nostalgic longing, all expressed in a colloquial style.

setting (time)  · A long weekend in the late 1940s or early 1950s

setting (place)  · Holden begins his story in Pennsylvania, at his former school, Pencey Prep. He then recounts his adventures in New York City.

protagonist  · Holden Caulfield

setting (time)  · A long weekend in the late 1940s or early 1950s

setting (place)  · Holden begins his story in Pennsylvania, at his former school, Pencey Prep. He then recounts his adventures in New York City.

protagonist  · Holden Caulfield


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The catcher in the rye

major conflict · The major conflict is within Holden’s psyche. Part of him wants to connect with other people on an adult level (and, more specifically, to have a sexual encounter), while part of him wants to reject the adult world as “phony,” and to retreat into his own memories of childhood.

rising action · Holden’s many attempts to connect with other people over the course of the novel bring his conflicting impulses—to interact with other people as an adult, or to retreat from them as a child—into direct conflict.

climax  · Possible climaxes include Holden’s encounter with Sunny, when it becomes clear that he is unable to handle a sexual encounter; the end of his date with Sally, when he tries to get her to run away with him; and his departure from Mr. Antolini’s apartment, when he begins to question his characteristic mode of judging other people.

falling action  · Holden’s interactions with Phoebe, culminating in his tears of joy at watching Phoebe on the carousel (at the novel’s end he has retreated into childhood, away from the threats of adult intimacy and sexuality)

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The catcher in the rye- allie

Allie was Holden’s younger brother who died of leukemia on July 18, 1946, when he was eleven and Holden was thirteen. The night of his death, Holden broke all the windows in the garage and had to be hospitalized. Allie was red-haired and left-handed. He wrote poems on his glove in green ink. 

Holden is 17 throughout the novel allies death having happened 4 years prior.

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The catcher in the rye - context

Jerome David Salinger was born in New York City in 1919. The son of a wealthy cheese importer, Salinger grew up in a fashionable neighborhood in Manhattan and spent his youth being shuttled between various prep schools before his parents finally settled on the Valley Forge Military Academy in 1934. He graduated from Valley Forge in 1936 and attended a number of colleges, including Columbia University, but did not graduate from any of them. While at Columbia, Salinger took a creative writing class in which he excelled, cementing the interest in writing that he had maintained since his teenage years.

Many events from Salinger’s early life appear in The Catcher in the Rye. For instance, Holden Caulfield moves from prep school to prep school, is threatened with military school, and knows an older Columbia student. In the novel, such autobiographical details are transplanted into a post–World War II setting.

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The catcher in the rye - context 2

The Catcher in the Rye was published at a time when the burgeoning American industrial economy made the nation prosperous and entrenched social rules served as a code of conformity for the younger generation. Because Salinger used slang and profanity in his text and because he discussed adolescent sexuality in a complex and open way, many readers were offended, and The Catcher in the Rye provoked great controversy upon its release. Some critics argued that the book was not serious literature, citing its casual and informal tone as evidence. The book was—and continues to be—banned in some communities, and it consequently has been thrown into the center of debates about First Amendment rights, censorship, and obscenity in literature.

Many readers saw Holden Caulfield as a symbol of pure, unfettered individuality in the face of cultural oppression.

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The catcher in the rye - context 3

As a recluse, Salinger, for many, embodied much the same spirit as his precocious, wounded characters, and many readers view author and characters as the same being. Such a reading of Salinger’s work clearly oversimplifies the process of fiction writing and the relationship between the author and his creations. But, given Salinger’s iconoclastic behavior, the general view that Salinger was himself a sort of Holden Caulfield is understandable.

The few brief public statements that Salinger made before his death in 2010 suggested that he continued to write stories, implying that the majority of his works might not appear until after his death. Meanwhile, readers have become more favorably disposed toward Salinger’s later writings, meaning that The Catcher in the Rye may one day be seen as part of a much larger literary whole.

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sonnet 116

Let me not declare any reasons why two

True-minded people should not be married. Love is not love

Which changes when it finds a change in circumstances,

Or bends from its firm stand even when a lover is unfaithful:

Oh no! it is a lighthouse

That sees storms but it never shaken;

Love is the guiding north star to every lost ship,

Whose value cannot be calculated, although its altitude can be measured.

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Sonnet 116 cont.

Love is not at the mercy of Time, though physical beauty

Comes within the compass of his sickle.

 Love does not alter with hours and weeks,

But, rather, it endures until the last day of life.

If I am proved wrong about these thoughts on love

Then I recant all that I have written, and no man has ever [truly] loved.

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Sonnet 116 - about the words

bends with the remover to remove (4): i.e., deviates ("bends") to alter its course ("remove") with the departure of the lover.

ever-fixed mark (5): i.e., a lighthouse (mark = sea-mark).
Compare Othello (5.2.305-7):

Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon'd;
Here is my journey's end, here is my ****,
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail.

the star to every wandering bark (7): i.e., the star that guides every lost ship (guiding star = Polaris). Shakespeare again mentions Polaris (also known as "the north star") in Much Ado About Nothing (2.1.222) and Julius Caesar (3.1.65). 

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Sonet 116 - about the words

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken (8): The subject here is still the north star. The star's true value can never truly be calculated, although its height can be measured.

Love's not Time's fool (9): i.e., love is not at the mercy of Time.

Within his bending sickle's compass come (10): i.e., physical beauty falls within the range ("compass") of Time's curved blade. Note the comparison of Time to the Grim Reaper, the scythe-wielding personification of death.

edge of doom (12): i.e., Doomsday. Compare 1 Henry IV (4.1.141):

Come, let us take a muster speedily:
Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.

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Sonnet 116 - shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire and was baptised a few days later on 26 April 1564. His father, John Shakespeare, was a glove maker and wool merchant and his mother, Mary Arden, was the daughter of a well-to-do landowner from Wilmcote, South Warwickshire. It is likely Shakespeare was educated at the local King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford.

Shakespeare was prolific, with records of his first plays beginning to appear in 1594, from which time he produced roughly two a year until around 1611. His hard work quickly paid off, with signs that he was beginning to prosper emerging soon after the publication of his first plays. By 1596 Shakespeare’s father, John had been granted a coat of arms and it’s probable that Shakespeare had commissioned them, paying the fees himself. A year later he bought New Place, a large house in Stratford.

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Shakespeare 116 - shakespeare cont.

Shakespeare's sonnets are a collection of 154 sonnets, dealing with themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality, first published in a 1609 quarto entitled SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS. Never before imprinted. (although sonnets 138 and 144 had previously been published in the 1599 miscellany The Passionate Pilgrim). The quarto ends with "A Lover's Complaint", a narrative poem of 47 seven-line stanzas written in rhyme royal.

The first 17 poems, traditionally called the procreation sonnets, are addressed to a young man urging him to marry and have children in order to immortalize his beauty by passing it to the next generation. Other sonnets express the speaker's love for a young man; brood upon loneliness, death, and the transience of life; seem to criticise the young man for preferring a rival poet; express ambiguous feelings for the speaker's mistress; and pun on the poet's name. The final two sonnets are allegorical treatments of Greek epigrams referring to the "little love-god" Cupid.

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Siesta by Gareth Owen

This is the website for poet, novelist and broadcaster Gareth Owen. Owen first emerged as a prize-winning writer of poetry for children.  He broke new ground in the 60s by writing poetry that grew out of the ordinary, everyday lives of the children he was teaching at the time. The poems somehow managed to be both workaday and yet innovative. He was, for example, the first children's poet to write both seriously and yet humorously about football. One emminent poet and critic at the time described Owen's children's poetry as being both beautiful and at the same time down-to-earth.  Nothing quite like it has been done before, he wrote.  He is also a highly accomplished reader of both his own and other writers' work and reads on the BBC, and in schools and colleges and Arts Centres all over the country.

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