Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Catcher in the Rye - Post One

For the next post, I want you to continue focusing on the idea of point of view and its influence on character. Now that you have read or are currently reading the opening of The Catcher in the Rye, tell me what have you noticed about Holden's character and his Weltanschauung (his view of the world - in academics, everyone uses the German word).

I also want you to take a look at these three song lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel. Some of you may own the album or you can download the songs at your own leisure. (Not necessary) Comment on themes or ideas that you see present in the songs. Any connections you can make to the text would be great.

The Sound of Silence
I am a Rock
Homeward Bound

Some hints on where to begin: What is our perception of Holden? What does Holden think of himself? What ideas do you see developing in the text? How does the author use the point of view in this story? Good luck!!!!

HW - Reminder - Chapters 1 to 5, eight dialectical journal entries for Monday. Draft of Essay due Wednesday. My email is in the profile section, if you have questions. Don't be overwhelmed!!!!


Chloe C 2 said...

When reading the song lyrics, I felt a sense of dread. The artist of the songs seems depressed. He gives a very bleak example of the world. I am surprised to discover that Holden of The Catcher in the Rye has a lot of the same viewpoints as me. Holden has a very cynical view of people. They are all phony, he says. In the Sounds of Silence, there are lines that go “People talking without speaking,/ People hearing without listening,”. Upon hearing those words, I am reminded of Holden’s attitude towards people. He thinks that people talk, but don’t mean it and they don’t listen at all. Some of the situations he talks about are correct; however, some need adjusting. The principal talking to parents, for example: Principal Haas smiles warmly upon first meeting them. We all know it is common courtesy to smile to a person you have never met before. But the smile doesn’t mean anything to you. Haas has it even worse. He has to be polite to the parents of a kid who just glued all the desks to the floor. Yes, phonies all of them.
Simon and Garfunkel portray the world as an unfriendly place. In I Am a Rock, the speaker isolates himself from the world. He has experienced love and has found it to hurt when love fails. So to prevent himself from hurting, he doesn’t experience love at all. I believe that though losing a love may hurt, finding a new love heals that pain making the search all the more worthwhile. The song Homeward Bound is very easy to relate to. As Dorothy says “There’s no place like home.” Anywhere else you might feel awkward or out of place, but when you come home everything’s all right. You feel perpetually protected. Home is your own little world away from everything.

Consuelo T 2 said...

I think Holden has sort of a negative, point of the world, and of people. In the beginning of the story he doesn’t really tell us a lot about his childhood, he doesn’t seem to want to tell us. He has a pessimistic perspective of things
. He thinks that some people are phony. I agree with what Chloe mentions “In the Sounds of Silence, there are lines that go “People talking without speaking,/ People hearing without listening,”. This also reminded of when Holden talks about Haas. “..Old Haas would just shake hands with them and give a phony smile...”. I think Simon and Garfunkel’s Homeward Bound is about someone who really misses their home, or who really want to go back home. I don’t get the impression that Holden wants to go home, at least I don’t. I would think that he is dreading to go home on the count that he got kick out if school again. I think that I am a Rock is about some one who wants to be alone, and away from the world or some who doesn’t like the world . “I have my books /And my poetry to protect me; / I am shielded in my armor, /Hiding in my room, safe within my womb”. This reminded me of when Holden is reading in his room alone.

There is one part of the book where Holden says he wants to feel some kind of “good-by” before he leaves. Can someone tell me what that means or go into detail about it? I’m having trouble understanding that part.

Jeniffer M 2 said...

So far, my perception of Holden is that he's "the King of 'phonies'". He goes to visit Mr.Spencer, who, since he's going to visit him, must be some sort of friend or have a friendly relationship with him. He needs to learn to change his point of view on things in order to understand people better. When Mr.Spencer starts reading his essay to him, he immediately gets defensive in his mind but still goes on with the nice boy facade, and he doesn't take the time to think that maybe Mr.Spencer is reading it aloud to help him in being a better student and realize he's not even trying. Also, when Stradlater came out without a shirt, Holden mentioned his good build, but when Ackley mentioned that Howie Coyle had a good build, Holden thought how he hated that people said that, so he's being a phony and a hypocrit. As for the lyrics by Simon and Garfunkle, I am a Rock really stuck out to me when they say, "I have my poetry to protect me" and that reminds me of Holden because in the first page, he already mentions reading and books which means he enjoys literature.Also, in the song, Homeward bound, there is a line that says,"Home, where my thoughts escaping" and that is similar to the moment when Stradlater leaves for his date and Holden sits in his room for 1/2 hour thinking about Jean and so him room is like his home.

Hillary D 2 said...

After reading the first sentence of Jeniffer's comment, I realized something I haven't noticed before and it was pretty obvious...Holden is also a phony! I couldn’t believe I missed that detail…He always criticized people for being a phony, but he himself is just like them and, in my opinion, worse! He thinks very negative thoughts about everyone, but doesn’t show it—not all the time. Of course when you are in the presence of an adult you must show respect. Holden was pulling an act when talking to Mr. Spencer and trying to fool him so he wouldn’t be lectured too long. Calling Mr. Haas a phony is so hypocritical.
I read the lyrics. It seemed as if someone was trying to be heard. “Hear my words that I might teach you / Take my arms that I might reach you / But my words like silent raindrops fell / And echoed / In the wells of silence”. These lyrics say no one is listening and no one is there for that person. It’s as if when he talks, he’s not saying anything at all; like he was invisible. I listened to all three songs. The Sounds of Silence didn’t sound too sad but it sounded haunting and depressing if you really listened to it. I am a Rock sounded very happy! There was this one part where they sing, “I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain / It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain”. It sounded like the person was persuading him/herself that this line was true. I don’t think Homeward bound related to Holden too much. Like Consuelo, I don’t get the feeling he wants to go home. I think his idea of a home if way different than what he has in reality.

After reading these lyrics and listening to them, I feel so weird and depressed… -_-“

Mr. Walsh said...

Some of you are struggling to make connections to the songs - perhaps connections can or will come later or not at all.

I like the difference already that has emerged whether people like Holden or not. Jen and Hillary seem to think he is the King of phonies. While Chloe seems to find value in his criticisms.

Is he a phony? How so?

When we talked about characterization, we looked at how minor characters and point of view affect/show us the main character - does Salinger seem to be doing that here as well? If so, where?

Have fun!!!

Lynn T. 4 said...

I actually read “The Catcher in the Eye” in 7th grade independently. I absolutely hated the book, so I wasn’t excited about reading it again. However, so far, I actually like it. I wonder if age has something to do with the book, because in 7th grade I was not able to relate to Holden. Right now, I think it’s too early to judge if I like Holden or not. The characters he described in the book, I feel his hatred for them. However because this is in first person it is going to be limited and biased. You don’t know if Holden is going to stretch the truth to prove his point.
For those who think Holden is phony, I slightly agree. Holden showed a slight act of phoniness when he pretended to be polite towards Mr. Spencer, but then you have to think who wouldn’t have done that? I mean, you should always show respect towards a teacher and Holden was going to be leaving soon so why should he bother to defend himself to someone who would no longer be his teacher. I think at one point everybody slips and shows ugliness or phoniness. I also disagree with Jeniffer M because I don’t think he was being hypocritical at all. Holden said Stradlater had a great build as a compliment but Ackley said Howie Coyle had the perfect build for basketball. It’s different because he is saying the only reason he is good at basketball is because of his build, he is making an excuse. Holden hates when people make excuses for something that they can’t do.

In “The Sounds of Silence” it sounds a lot like Holden’s views on society. This song is about society, about the media and their influence of the world. The movies are a huge influence on the world. The connection is that Holden also hates the movies, if you remember Holden says “If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the movies.” It seems as the media influences people communicate/interact less with each other.

In “I am a Rock” when “If I never loved I never would have cried,” which means if don’t get you don’t get hurt. If you don’t make friends, if you don’t love, you’ll never lose any of them. This song not only connects to Ackley but Holden. They both seem to isolate themselves; neither of them is at the game. I think Holden has no reason to isolate himself except for the fact that he’s afraid. Holden knows Jean well, but he didn’t want to see her again when the opportunity came. I think he likes to be alone but he’s also lonely. He wanted to see her so bad but he didn’t, he’s afraid of something. In the book everybody is always telling him to grow up, but he always seems to ignore it, maybe he is afraid of the effects of the world.

I also disagree with Consuelo because I don’t think “Homeward Bound” is necessarily about going home to his house. I think being home is like a metaphor for being happy. I connected this to when Stradlater said Jean Gallagher remembered him. At this moment, I think he was genuinely happy, from the way he ranted about her. Do you think the kings lined up in the back symbolize anything?

Belinda L 4 said...

Holden’s character from the Catcher in the Rye seems very interesting to me. I actually really like Holden. Salinger shows Holden very differently from characters that are in other stories. His character is very straight forward and us as the reader knows everything he says which may have been the cause of my liking of the character as Lynn has said. I also agree strongly with Hillary’s statement about Holden being a phony himself. I noticed this point while I was reading. Even if he was suppose to be nice to Spencer, Holden shouldn’t have been a “phony” about it. Like lying about what he would have done if he was in Spencer’s place. Holden could have told the truth and still be polite, or just tell Spencer that he shouldn’t feel lousy for flunking him. I think Holden has an interesting view of the world. I disagree with Consuelo about Holden having a negative view of the world. I never really got any evidence that he has a negative feeling. I’m not sure about his point of view but something tells me he isn’t always as depressed or sad as the first few chapters show him to be. Holden isn’t always calling people “phony.” For example, he compliments Stradlater quite a lot. Saying he is actually really nice and how he will give you his tie if you like it and also saying that he is quite handsome. Another example of Holden not being negative all the time is when he talks about Jane Gallagher. He seems to like her a lot. I get the impression that he really enjoyed being with her when they were younger. Do you guys think he likes her a little more than friends?

In the song “the sound of silence” there is a part that says,
“People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.”
I connect it with Holden as the person writing the songs that he never shares. The song meaning his thoughts. He never once told anyone how he felt yet or how he was before he was at prep school. At least not honestly. The next line sort of gives me a guess of what might happen next.
“In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whisperd in the sounds of silence”
This makes me thing that Holden will give out signs of thinngs he might do but no one will notice them wich will cause somethiing dramatic to happen in the end. Does anyone else have something they noticed while reading that they think can relate to my prediction?

In the song “I am a Rock” I made a connection to Holden’s past although I have no evidence to prove if I am right or not.
“Its sleeping in my memory.
I wont disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.”
This sort of describing Holden when he was younger. Like when his brother died of lukeimia and how he smashed all the window in his garage and also about his “lousy childhood.” It is as if he has all these memories in his head but does not plan to go through the pain of explaining everything because he feels he doesn’t need to. Because of his past, he is now a rock and an island. Holden might be saying that he does not need to explain his feelings because of his rock self “And a rock feels no pain; And an island never cries.”

In “Homeward bound” I also found another connection. This I also am not sure if it is correct. But it seems that Holden have gone to many schools before. They all seem the same, all full of “phoneys” and he just wants to get away to somewhere real This connects me with the verses
“And each town looks the same to me
The movies and the factories

Reminds me that I long to be
Homeward bound.”

Ashley N. 4 said...
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Ashley N. 4 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley N. 4 said...

I completely agree with Chloe, and, if you listen to the songs, the music emphasizes what the song is trying to say even more.
The song, I am a Rock, by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel starts out with a slow melody, but as it starts to talk about being cut off and not needing other people, it starts to get a happier tune. Which is sort of like Holden’s tone, he separates himself, but he’s happy about it.
But the song, The Sounds of Silence, has a melancholy air about it, and I think that it resembles Holden’s view on “phony” people and himself. The song says “People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening, people writing songs that voices never share, and no one dares.” It’s like, saying that people have stuff to say, but they don’t want to say it so instead they say something else that they don’t mean. Holden says that Stradlater is a “secret slob”, but he projects himself to be a clean cut person. And then there’s Holden who tolerates Ackley on the outside, but is insulting him and criticizing him inwardly.
So far, I really like the book. It isn’t like other books, where everything’s like organized. This book is like Holden’s stream of consciousness. He goes from one subject to another, and another. It’s entertaining.
I think that Holden is actually a really intelligent person, from the way he thinks and his unique view on the world. I just think that he’s failing everything because, like Mr. Spencer said, he doesn’t put any effort into it. Mr. Spencer sees potential in him, but I don’t think Holden sees it, that’s why he’s frustrated with people lecturing him.
I also feel that Holden doesn’t have a negative view on the world. I suppose he just assumes that’s the way it is. The world’s full of phonies, except for a few. I also think that he acknowledges that he’s a phony, but doesn’t want to say anything about it. Like, despite the unpleasant things he’s said about phoniness in the world, I think that he’s trying to connect to the world in a way that won’t hurt him, that’s why he doesn’t say what’s on his mind, and just goes with it.
Anyways, like I said, I’m really enjoying this book; do you guys like it so far?

Mr. Walsh said...

Hey guys - Many of you are writing about his "negative" view of the world. If you could elaborate on this, I think it might be helpful in the discussion.

Be careful when proofreading your comments.

To Lynn's comment about reading it at a different age, I think you may be on to something here. I found this true for myself. What does this say about reading?

Regarding Holden, the current debate is focusing on his view of the world. Perhaps some one could begin to define his worldview a little clearer. Think about bullet points. (I may do this in class as well so a thread could be a nice jumping off point!)

It is interesting those who mention how the songs with music have a different impact than just reading the lyrics. What does this say about tone?

I'm glad many of you like the book!!!

casey w. 4 said...

It is really early to give my full impression on Holden but he is defiantly hypocritical when he talks about how much he hates “phony” people because he doesn’t seem to be the realist person himself. I have to agree with Jennifer on this because he says one thing out loud and then tells the readers how he really feels on the subject. Maybe he wishes he could say more of how he feels out loud and that’s why when he sees other people being “phony” it gets him aggravated. Holden doesn’t get excited about to many things he comes off as a dry person. For instance most of the students at Pency were excited to see the football game but he could care less about it. Holden doesn’t take life to serious. “I’ll be alright. I’m just going through a phase right now. Everybody goes through phases and all, don’t they?”(pg.15)Holden doesn’t look at the big picture of life he thinks this phase he is going through is temporary but I think it’s much deeper then that something inside of him is causing him to act the way he is because going from school to school like he has been doing isn’t ordinary. Maybe Holden thinks that he has plenty of time in life to concentrate on important things but as far as right now he doesn’t feel like the “real world” is something that he is ready to deal with yet. He is at the prime of his youth and from reading these fist five chapters he doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself. The only time he truly shows he cares about something is when his friend Strandlater mentions he is going on a date with Jane Gallagher. In the song “Sounds of Silence” /the first line Hello darkness. My old friend/ this instantly reminds me of a part of Holden’s character because I might be mistaken but I feel that something is bugging Holden and every time he settles down somewhere something comes back to haunt him and he doesn’t want to stay or he doesn’t have the drive, in this case to keep his grades up. In the song “I am a Rock” I agree with Lynn that this song relates to two characters Ackley and Holden. /I am alone; Gazing from my window to the streets below/ this reminds me of how Ackley stays in his room most of the time and doesn’t really get along with a lot of people. At the end of the song where it says /I have my books And my poetry to protect me;/ this reminds me of Holden because he must enjoy writing if english is the only class he is passing and maybe writing helps him express his feelings and keeps him feeling safe. The song “Homeward Bound” reminds me of a place where Holden wants to be but is struggling to get there some where that he can actually enjoy himself sorta of like a happy place.

Mr. Walsh said...

Casey, you make a good point that we have only read the first five chapters and don't really have a fully understanding yet.

I do like your inference (and will not confirm or deny its correctness) that there is something larger bothering Holden.

To the class, do we have a hint at what could be bothering Holden? What is motivating him?

nashally t 2 said...

My perception of Holden so far is..not how I would want it to stay through out the whole book. He seems to be very opinionated and criticizes about everything. As I was reading, he always has side comments about anything and anyone. Either about the way they are up to how many times they repeat a phrase. I suppose something in the past probably has triggered him to be this way. Sometimes I tended to forget how old Holden was and had to remember he was only 16, yet he gives off this vibe of a 30 year old man. Reading the lyrics of the song "Sounds of Silence", it makes me wonder if it could relate to Holden in any from. The lyrics describe how someone seems to feel alone and only has darkness and silence there with them. Holden probably cirticizes everything because he feels alone and has nothing else to do. He reminds me a bit of Anders from "Bullet in the Brain." Anders aswell made a comments on a lot of things seeing how he was a cirtic, they both seem to have the same type of personalties. I also wonder how Holden is only 16 years old yet managed to get kicked out or drop out of alot of schools. He seems to be a very good thinker but doesnt use his knowledge in school.

One question I had was, when his roomate Stradlater brought up the girl Holden knew, did anyone else begin to see a whole other side to Holden ?

To me it was as if just the sound of her made him react in a whole different manner and showed us he could actually care for someone.

Jillian D 2 said...

Holden, the narrator seems to have a very negative view of school and everything else. But I also can understand he doesn’t like where the school is and doesn’t like the fakeness of it either and how everyone treats him that way.
While reading the song lyrics, I connected them to parts of the story that we have read. The first song “The Sound of Silence” reminds me of the conversation with Holden had with old Spencer. Old Spencer left Holden a note to come talk to him before he left the school for good. Its almost like Spencer knew where Holden was coming from and allowed him to be able to talk to him about his future.
In the second song “I am a Rock” it reminds of the part when Holden is sitting in the window wanting to throw the snow ball out to the car, but he didn’t. The song also reminds of the fact that Holden doesn’t like to read for school but he will read for pleasure about anything. There is also another part because when Holden’s roommate told him who his date was he got very strange. Almost like he was once in love with her and when he found out it was her, those memories came back to him.
In the last song I got the sense of what he wanted to do with his future. I agree with Chloe when she said the speaker of “I am a Rock” isolates him/herself from everything, and when that speaker found love and then lost it, it made him that way.

Do you think that Holden loved Jane at one time?

Marissa G 4 said...

My first impression of Holden was he had the "what ever" attitude. Then as I read the rest of the assignment I started thinking maybe theres a bigger reaosoning to why he acts the way he does like Casey said. At first when he was at the football game I thought that he did not associate with anyone, only teachers. Even when he talked to the teacher Mr.Spencer who he seemed to like to talk to the whole time he was critizizing whatever Mr. Spencer said and thinking of other thoughts. One thing that surprised me was that he actually does seem to have friends... well accuantences that talk to him frequently that are kids around his age.Deep down i got the impression that Holden does really want to fit in but he dosent even notice it. When he was at the game he was saying how he wanted some type of goodbye, "I don't care if it's a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I'm leaving it."(p4) To me this sounds like a kid that want s to be noticed that he is leaving and when he said that is can be sad or bad that shows that to him he could never get a nice goodbye ethier sad or mad. Holden also likes to know whos going on dates with who and what happens on them, I think that deep down he wants to be a little like his roomate Stradlater who it hansome and get dates. Also when Holden finds out that Jane Gallager being Stradlaters date Holden goes of on a train of thoughts. He was so obssesed with going down to say hi to her but he never ends up going also that when they were younger she would never move her kings when they would play checkers. I think Holden likes Jane becaue he told Stradlater to not tell her that he got kicked out of school.I personally like how we are in Holdens mind and get to here his thoughts right when he thinks of them because he is very random, but then when we are introduced to other character we only get to see how Holden sees them not how the would does so i think this book is going to be biased.
In the lyrics by Simon and Garfunkel one stanza really stood out to me it was from I am a Rock,I have my books;And my poetry to protect me;I am shielded in my armor,Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.I touch no one and no one touches me.I am a rock,I am an island. This really reminded me of Holden because while everyone was at the football game he was in his room, in his chair, reading his book. I sort of see his chair as his armor like when hes in it he figures no one will bother him and he can excape to another world with watever he is reading.

Mr. Walsh said...

Marissa said, "I personally like how we are in Holdens mind and get to here his thoughts right when he thinks of them because he is very random, but then when we are introduced to other character we only get to see how Holden sees them not how the would does so i think this book is going to be biased."

What do you think? Have we noticed any bias?

Can you have an "honest" first person story?

Victoria P. 4 said...

Although the first five chapters were not a lot to get a clear enough description of Holden, I feel that I can already tell that Holden is a negative person. Most of the time he is talking about things that annoy and aggravate him. He doesn't realize what an amazing experience he could get out of Pencey. He just focuses on saying how he never really wanted to try. When Holden was speaking with Mr. Spencer I realized a lot about his personality. He would say one thing to Mr. Spencer then say another to himself. It made me think that he isn't a very trustworthy person considering he wouldn't come straight out and tell you what he was thinking or feeling. In The Sounds of Silence I felt like it was a sad song that would make Holden think about what he is doing with his life. It says //And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence//. Holden should think about what he is doing with school and with other people because after awhile he will still remember what he has done in the long run, and most likely he will be remembering this in his own mind without anyone else helping him realize. I Am a Rock reminds me of Holden shutting down other peoples thoughts on his lifestyle. The lyrics say//Ive built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.// I can imagine Holden putting up walls in order for people to not tell him what he is doing is wrong and that he should really start trying in order to succeed in life. Just like how Mr. Spencer was trying to let him know that he should try to apply himself more. The last song, Homeward Bound reminds me of how Holden does not really mind going home. He seems like he would actually rather be home then be at this school. I think that Holden doesn't care what other people want for him, I think that he just wants to be happy with himself and his own life.

Jessica F 2 said...

When i read the songs they sounded really sad and depressed. Usually someone who is depressed and writes songs like that have gone through some kind of problem. Holden can relate because he has gone through alot too. He has had to change to a new school alot. Holden has got kicked out of schools or dropped out. He has family problems too such as his brother dying. Holden is really observant and opinonated about things. Everything he talks about he describes in such detail.

To answer Consuelo,
I think he wants a goodbye because he wants to be needed somewhere. He has gotten kicked out of schools and wasn't wanted there so he just wants to be needed somewhere.

Mr. Walsh said...

I just want to remind everyone to reference the text. Also, use your DJ to help your response.

Look at the first line in Chapter 3. Any reaction?

Ngoc D. 4 said...

I agree with Lynn and Casey that it is too early to say that if I like Holden or not. At first, when Holden talks about how he does not want to talk about his past, it seems to me like there’s something there that he does not want to talk about, maybe something had happened that shaped who is right now, dropping and flunking out of schools.
To me, Holden is a smart person, for lack of a better word; he is smart in another sense. He notices things around him that people don’t, or they do, but does not acknowledge it. I disagree when people say that Holden have a negative view on the world. Holden have strong opinions about the people around him, their attitude, their lifestyle, etc, but that does not how him that he have a negative view on the world. I bet everyone have similar thoughts as Holden, that this person is so fake, another person needs to do something with their hair, and other people need to mind their own business. Holden is basically putting most teenagers’ words into a book. Just because someone says that this is the right thing to say or do, you do not have to criticize Holden because what Holden thinks about is not the right way.
In the song, “I am a Rock”, it talks about isolating oneself, not only physically, but also mentally. The lines “Dont talk of love,/ But Ive heard the words before;/ Its sleeping in my memory./ I wont disturb the slumber of feelings that have died./ If I never loved I never would have cried.” To me, it sounds like it is talking about Holden’s past. In the beginning, he says that he doesn’t want to talk about his past, but then he reveals a little bit of it later on. He loved his brother and was so devastated by his death that Holden broke all of the windows in the garage. So maybe this is talking about his past and how it deeply affected him that it hurts for him to talk about it.

sandy j 2 said...

“The catcher in the rye” by J.D Salinger is different from other books that I have read. It approaches real issues in the world but in Holden’s own perspective of it. I like Holden by far because he tells it like it is. There area lot of people who are fare in this world, but I think it’s really up to anyone what you do about it. In Holden’s case, he criticizes the world. He criticizes everything that he doesn’t think is real and has his personal response to it. He sounds angry to me because in the first page he said how he had a lousy childhood and how his parents are. In one hand I like Holden but on the other hand, he’s complaining to people about how everyone around him is phony and it seems like propaganda so people can think the same as him. I think he is right about people being phony, but he needs to spend less time thinking about it and more time thinking about himself and find one thing that makes him happy.

Martin D 2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin D 2 said...

In the first line of Chapter 3, Holden says, “I’M THE MOST terrific liar you have ever saw in your life.” I didn’t think he was that great of a liar. -.-“
He told Mr. Spencer that he had to get his equipment in the gym, but he never leaves anything there. It was just an excuse for him to leave. Perhaps this is one of his characteristics, in which he would rather tell lies than suffering through any situation. Holden also tells Mr. Spencer that he is going through a “phase.” What exactly is this phase? Holden knows that he is beyond Mr. Spencer’s help so that is probably why he tells him not to worry and calls it a phase. Perhaps he doesn’t like Mr. Spencer that much anyways, since he was so impatient to leave. Holden thinks Mr. Spencer’s use of the word “grand” in describing his parents is phony. According to Holden, phony people are people who are insincere in their language and doings instead of being honest about anything. Holden can’t stand a fake. I’m sure any teen could relate to that. I also agree with everyone else on the fact that it is still too early to either like or dislike this character, but I find Holden very interesting as of now.

Katherine Z 4 said...

To answer Mr. Walsh’s question when I read the first line of Ch.3 “I’M THE MOST terrific liar you have ever saw in your life.” I was thinking to myself what a hypocrite he is. All through Ch.1-5 he kept on saying he hates phonies, but now he’s saying what a terrific liar he is himself? Isn’t he a phony himself? My definition of phony is people who act friendly in front of people, but deep inside they have different feelings, not necessarily good ones either. Holden admits that he’s a liar, a terrific one, so wouldn’t that make him phony if he lies to people all the time? During class today we discussed on if Holden is really a phony himself. In page 26 Holden says how “Stradlater was at least a pretty friendly guy. It was partly a phony kind of friendly, but at least he always said hello to Ackley and all.” Even though he said this, Holden himself acts this way toward Ackley too. We know from his point of view that he thinks Ackley is annoying and doesn’t like him being around in his room all the time, but still he tolerates him. He even asks him to go to movies with him and Mal, if he dislikes Ackley why does he bother to ask him to go places? Isn’t he acting a phony by acting nice towards Ackley, when he actually dislikes him? Like what Jillian and Casey and all other people that commented on how Holden has a negative point of view on everything around him, I agree with them. So far all his opinions and descriptions are all negative.

While I was listening to the song “I am A Rock” there was one section that really caught my attention it goes like this “I am alone/ Gazing from my window to the streets below/ On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow/ I am a rock/ I am an island/ I’ve built walls/ A fortress deep and mighty/ That none may penetrate.” While I was reading this it reminds me of when Holden was standing in the hill looking down at the football game where all the students are gathering to watch the game. “I am alone” suits Holden, because he is all alone up there, no one is with him. “I am a rock, I am an island, I’ve build walls” it makes me start thinking if Holden is the one that had built a wall around him, rather than saying all people are phony that’s why he can’t stand them, I’, beginning to think that Holden is the one that’s isolating everyone around him. Not the other way around. No one in the school have act rude or hateful toward Holden, they might not even know he existed, but in Holden’s mind everyone is a phony in that school. He created a shield around him that no one can break through; or rather he doesn’t want anyone to bother the life style that he has created.

jimmy v. 2 said...

From the first 5 chapters of The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger, we probably can't and won't get enough info to conjure a solid judgement of Holden. However, from what I've read so far, Holden is a hypocrite. My first reaction to the first line in chapter 3, ''I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life.'' was surprse. Holden has done nothing but hate on people for being ''phony'' or using ''phony'' language yet he openly admits to being a liar. It surprises me that such an advid phony-hater would say such a thing. Isn't being phony the same as lying to people? When someone is phony they're putting on a facade for others and when someone is lying they put on a facade to trick others.

Andy T. 4 said...

I also think that it is too early to judge whether I like Holden from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, because it is too early to say so. I agree with Jimmy and other people about the first line in chapter 3 when Holden says, “I’M THE MOST terrific liar you ever saw in your life.” Holden says he hates “phonies” yet he is one himself. Holden is a hypocrite because he told Mr. Spencer he had to go somewhere so he could get out of his lecture. Does Holden realize that he is a “phony” himself when he lies to people? I found it interesting how Holden doesn’t do his work in school and fails four subjects yet he does Stradlaters homework for him…

Kim C 2 said...

As many have said, we have only read five chapters in The Catcher in the Rye and we haven’t went into the book more enough to fully understand Holden. I slightly agree that Holden can be a phony himself and is hypocritical. Holden doesn’t really show affection, attachment, or interests towards people around him. It is not that Holden is anti-social, but he doesn’t seem to like to interact with others. Though Holden becomes excited and shows interests when the topic Jane is brought up. Holden has a deeper impression and memories of Jane. Jane is a subject Holden likes to talk about and know more about that it seems like Holden likes her. Recently in school, we have just discussed in class that Holden is telling his story in a mental hospital to someone else. If Holden has mental issues, is “his” story reliable or biased?

Mr. Walsh said...

Some of you are making wonderful comments about Holden. Many of you are focusing on his "contradictions" as we now they see them.

Kim's last comment, which is one we have been tap dancing around, is "If he has mental issues, can he be trusted?"

I'll rephrase that to say - CAN HE BE TRUSTED regardless?

Jimmy mentioned the idea of facade - What kind of facade does Holden put on? Why may he put on a facade? You may wish to start to trace this idea.

Be sure to reference the text. Don't feel bound by the songs either.

will h 4 said...

Holden seems to be very bored of life. I think that he is a loner and doesn't really care about what is going on around him. I agree with jeniffer and hillary that Holden is a phony. He is friends with Ackley when he is around but when he is gone holden just complains about him. He is a hypocrite because it bothers him a lot when others do that and holden turns around and does it to Ackley. In the song "I am a rock" the singer is talking about how isolated he is from the world. he says he is "Hiding in my room, safe within my womb." This related to Holden because in the first chapters he just sits in his room and reads, isolated from the world.

Jen-T 4 said...

Well when I read the song "The Sounds of Silence" it reminded me of Holden. I thought about him in the second verse when they are talking about the people who dont dare to break the silence. "And no one dare/Disturb the sound of silence." When I read that it kind-of reminded me of an army. And how everyone follows the leader, no on dare to say anything because thats sort-of like an unspoken law. It reminded me of Holden becuase it was how he viewed everyone that went to his schools. They were all phony people who followed the crown even if they didnt want to because everyone was doing it. I feel bad for Holden because he goes to a ton of prep schools where people are known to be all phoney,fake, skuck-up and snobby. I know thats a steriotype but there are alot of kids that go to a prep school that act like that. Does anyone think that after he leaves Pencey he will go to a public school or another prep school?

Aaron G 2 said...

If their were a song attached to this book out of the three to choose it must be I Am A Rock. Holden is a kid lost in the world from what I think of not having many friends or even a girlfriend for that matter. The verse “If I never loved I never would have cried.” Is evxpaining Holden but he doesn’t want to love so he wont cry.
The second person point of view may tamper with how we feel with Holden. If any person could truly be in another persons mind they will also think they are weird no matter who it is. Through the extra characters it evens off the playing field and shows truly how holden is. Yet it is too early in the story for me to voice my opinion on him.

Herman T 2 said...

The lyrics to the songs were as Chloe said, “dread”. When I was reading the lyrics to in the Sounds of Silence I also had the impression of sadness and loneliness. The beginning of song there are a couple lines that said “Hello Darkness my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again .”. This already shows that this song shows a sense of loneliness because when you are lonely it is equivalent to you being by yourself that can’t accept the outside world. The darkness is where the person in the song is staying and when it says to talk to you again it suggest that maybe this person is lonely again and needs to be with himself again. When I compare this song to Holden from the Catcher in the Rye. Holden is a person who has aspects of people all being phony. The setting of the beginning of the book already suggest that Holden is lonely and that he fits into the person in the song. There were 2 lines that stuck out, People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening. These lines show what Holden thinks of people, there was a part within the book where Holden was talking to Ackley but Ackley doesn’t seem to notice and Holden had to scream it, this can relate to the line of People talking without speaking because no matter what Holden says, it is as if he hasn’t spoken at all. Ackley can be the type who fit’s the line People hearing without listening. If Holden were to propose a statement, Ackley would acknowledge that he heard it but yet he doesn’t hear it and does quite the opposite as if he didn’t hear what was the proposed statement. I agree with Lynn’s and Chloe’s comments. The verses in I am a rock. “If I never loved I never would have cried,” means that if you don’t fall in love you won’t get your heart broken and you won’t feel pain and cry about it. As Chloe said, “He has experienced love and has found it to hurt when love fails. So to prevent himself from hurting, he doesn’t experience love at all. I believe that though losing a love may hurt, finding a new love heals that pain making the search all the more worthwhile.” I agree with this completely. The artist wrote, “Don’t talk of love, But I’ve heard the words before; Its sleeping in my memory. I wont disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.” showing that he did experience love before since he heard the words before and its still in his memories dormant, and he wrote he won’t disturb the feelings that died indicating that he doesn’t want to go through the pain again since it hurt so much. I’ve noticed how much I agreed with Chloe that I did it again. Lol. For the song Homeward Bound Chloe wrote, “The song Homeward Bound is very easy to relate to. As Dorothy says “There’s no place like home.” Anywhere else you might feel awkward or out of place, but when you come home everything’s all right. You feel perpetually protected. Home is your own little world away from everything.” which I thought was also completely true because everyone must’ve felt this before, being in a place where you feel you don’t belong. Then when you go back home everything is back to the way it feels, a comfortable area where you can feel safe.
To the last part or the last comment Mr. Walsh made. (at least I think so) Mr. Walsh said Can Holden be trusted? I’d say yes, but it comes to me that Holden is the one narrating the story, also know as first person. First person as we know is biased and limited, meaning we can’t see other’s thoughts on the issue. Many people read chapters 1 to 5 and they consider Holden as a hypocrite, and I disagree because I think it is too early to judge Holden as we learned from the last 2 short stories, The Last Judgment, and Bullet in the Brain. We thought that Anders was a jerk who we hated but we learned of all that he has been through and we regretted our views of him. Kugler was a notorious killer of nine, this sentence from the text made us dislike Kugler already but we go back to thinking of his past and that most of it wasn’t what we assumed it was. I just hope that we can all give Holden a chance to show himself, and his past before we judge him and regret it.

Jess L 2 said...

I see the lyrics of all three songs to be very sorrowful, and most can be easily related to Holden. Out of the three songs, I think that "The Sounds of Silence" has the most in common. In the song it says "People talking without speaking, / People hearing without listening, / People writing songs that voices never share." This seems to be Holden's general outlook on the world and the people in it. They never really mean what they say, and they don't listen to what anyone else has to say, because they are so self-centered. Even if they do want to say what they really mean or express their true feelings, they don't, they just keep it inside them and still put on a fake show. I agree with this point of view, somewhat. Certainly people like this exist, and I can point out a hundred examples everyday, but just because he has met a few people like this he has already given up on the whole human race, classifying them all as fake. That is not right, and he should not judge everyone this way. He is also fake in many ways, there is no denying that. Despite this, I still like him as a character.

Homeward bound also sort of portrays Holden. To me, all the lines except the chorus seem to be direct descriptions of him. The songs theme is about constantly traveling and never really settling down, which is the case for Holden, because he is always switching schools. He doesn't really get attached to anyone and seems to hate almost everyone he comes across. That point of view stands out to me in the lines "And each town looks the same to me / The movies and the factories / And every stranger's face I see / Reminds me that I long to be / Homeward bound." This also proves true because one of the major reasons for him switching schools before was because he hated the people at his previous school, and that just provoked him to want to leave.

It may be too early for me to form a solid opinion about Holden, but so far I think I like him and the way he thinks.

Cristina V 2 said...

So far, Holden seems like the type of person who really doesn’t like to associate with other people, with the exception of a few. The Simon and Garfunkel song, I Am A Rock, reminds me a lot of Holden’s character. “A winters day in a deep dark December; I am alone gazing from my window to the streets below on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. I am a rock, I am an island.” This made me think of when Holden was sitting alone on the hill, while everyone else was at the football game. “I’ve built walls a fortress deep and mighty, that none may penetrate, I have no need for friendship; friendship causes pain. It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain, I am a rock, I am an island.” I think Holden was once in love with Jane, and she did not love him back, therefore he has built an emotional barrier because he is afraid of letting anyone else in, and afraid of getting hurt. “I am a rock, I am an island” makes me think of someone who is alone and feels like people just pass on by them, and makes them feel sort of worthless, much like a rock. When I first started reading Catcher in the Rye, I didn’t like Holden. However, now I kind of feel sorry for him, the fact that he lost his brother and his first love. It seems to me as though Holden is misunderstood by many, and Jane and Allie were the only people who really understood him.

Nikita R 2 said...

Holden is not one of the most positive guys in the world. He has a negative outlook on life and people around him in the world. He always has to make a comment after someone says something. He is a hypocrite and to me he is "phony" even though he says that he doesn’t like people who are "phony" . After reading the songs I was able to connect the songs to Holden. The songs were depressing and made it look like the person was alone. I could relate Holden to the songs because I think that Holden is alone on the inside. Usually people write songs about things that have occurred during their life and this reminded me of Holden because in the first couple of pages in the book you can get an idea that Holden has been through some tough times in his life.

Thanh N. 4 said...

While reading Catcher in the Rye, I noticed that Holden is peculiar character. To start off, on page one, he says, “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” When he started saying that he didn’t want to get into the “David Copperfield kind of crap”, it kind of gave away that his life was like the character in the story. I did some research, and they were kind of similar because both of them lost a family member and they’re both failing in school. I think Holden gave us a clue on what his life is like. Other than that, the three song lyrics I’ve read connect to him too. For example, Holden would isolate himself from the students at Pencey Prep. The day when he came home from a fencing match, he would stay at an area away from the crowd watching the game and he’d soon leave to go to his dorm just to be alone, just like in the song “I am a rock.” In the other songs, they were about going home and being alone as well. I think that if we read on, the songs would connect to the story more.

Thanh N. 4 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Walsh said...

Thanh - great job noticing the allusion in the text!
We will talk more about these as the book goes on.

Herman, I appreciate how you tied it back to what we learned from reading Last Judgment and Bullet in the Brain - that it is indeed too soon to start really pinpointing a character, perhaps even within the 1st person narrative, we will be able to find another side of him.

The issue of stereotyping came up too, in regards to the prep school. My question is who is doing the stereotyping? Are there hints that the prep school kids may not be stereotypes? (I don't have an answer)

Good job - keep it up.

Elaine T 4 said...

Throughout the first 5 chapters, I get a sense of boredom and sometimes without any emotion from Holden’s character whenever he is speaking or thinking about things. (I especially get this feeling from Holden at the opening of the first chapter.) Also, there are many parts that I get the feeling that Holden is a loner; he likes to alienate himself from others. For example, on page 4 Holden is on top of the hill looking down on the football game that everyone is attending. Holden is isolating himself from his peers and is trying to get a sense of being missed; a goodbye of some sort. If Holden wanted a goodbye, he could have gone down to the game and said goodbye to his friends but he is standing on top of the hill alone instead. Also, in the song “I Am a Rock” by Simon and Garfunkel, the first four lines also relate to the scene on page 4 of the book. Moreover in lines 8-10 of the lyrics to the song, it mentions something about building a wall and not letting anyone in. I think this relates to Holden because he’s also isolating himself from the others. He’s building a wall between him and the others and isn’t letting anyone in because maybe he feels scared to let anyone in. Holden is scared to be hurt and deceived by others; scared to be vulnerable. I also think there’s a reason why Holden is doing this and I believe it has something to do with his childhood and with Allie’s death. Holden was close to his brother Allie before his untimely death. When his brother died, it shocked Holden so much, he broke the windows of his garage. I think Holden felt left alone in the world and really hurt because Allie was one person whom he let in to his life and when he died, the hurt left was all Holden felt. Holden now isolates himself from others and doesn’t let anyone in because he doesn’t want to be hurt again.

barbara j 2 said...

In the Catcher in the Rye, Holden seems to think that everything around him is phony. He does not do well in school and he does not have much friends either. In the lyrics of “I am a Rock” it says “If I never loved I never would have cried.” for some reasons when i read this i was thinking that Holden was saying it. So it made me think that maybe Holden used to like being around people or whatever else and something happened or someone did something to him and now he thinks that the world is a phony. All the other songs also could relate to him as well. Holden don’t seem to confident of himself because when Mr. Spencer told him that he would think of his future when it is too late he kind of agreed though these words really hurt him. He also don’t seem to believe in luck because he said that saying it is terrible. I really like the book so far and i can’t wait to go forward and see what is waiting for us.

Mr. Walsh said...

Elaine - I am wondering about your idea of boring. Are you saying the text sounds boring (tone)? or Is Holden bored? I think these are two different things.

Nice job, mentioning the Allie scene, and beginning to think about what motivates Holden to isolate himself. Though,

Keep posting, late-comers!

Jonathan C. 4 said...

The lyrics of “Sounds of Silence” seemed to reflect how Holden thought. “In restless dreams I walked alone,” Holden seems to be a loner, but is that by choice or do others just reject his mere presence? The restless dreams from the song represent the constant ideas people are coming up with and following. These dreams could be hanging out with friends, getting something to eat, or just doing homework. Even with all these activities about, Holden does not participate in any of them, so he “walked alone.” “People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening,” these symbolize Holden’s relationships with others. The first part of the quote means that no one really hears him speak his mind, or speaks to him. The second part could be from his point of view stating something like, “I am speaking, but no one is willing to listen to me, everyone is too distracted with their own things.” From “I Am a Rock” the title itself represents Holden from the first couple of chapters. Rocks were once soft sand that eventually hardened after lots of pressure, building up layers and layers to strengthen it. Holden looks down on many aspects of life may be because life has not treated him very well. Perhaps there is a secret to his past that made him start secluding himself from other people, building layers to keep all the things wrong in life out. Holden does not want to be harmed by life anymore so he protects himself with layers that keep everything out.
In response to Mr. Walsh’s question, Holden is the one who does the most stereotyping. I am not sure but it does not seem like it is Holden’s fault that he is stereotyping. He lives in such a stereotypical world. In most TV shows or movies, the good-looking guy is usually the one that gets all the girls but is bad at school. Stradlater is Holden’s handsome roommate, and stereotypically he is always on dates and asks Holden to do his homework for him. “I got about a hundred pages to read for history for Monday,’ he said. ‘How ‘bout writing a composition for me, for English? I’ll be up the creek if I don’t get the g***** thing in by Monday, the reason I ask.” (pg 28) Also, the teachers all say what is expected of them such as “I’m trying to help you, if I can.” They do everything they are suppose to, such as ridicule a piece of work you have done and then say that they were trying to help you. The socially awkward guy, Ackley, has many pimples on his face and annoys everyone by being too nosy. He does not seem like a very attractive guy and yet he hates the guy who is good-looking. The only non-stereotypical thing about his life seems to be his school, which is definitely not filled with rich snobs who are perfect in every way.

Mat M. 4 said...

So far, in “Catcher,” I noticed that Holden doesn’t like to reveal personal things about himself. Despite not talking about himself, he is very observant with the world around him. Holden says, “but people never notice it. People never notice anything.” I think that he finds fault with society and feels that people are not open minded enough in the world. I agree with Andy in that, it is too early to tell if I like Holden or not as a character. In the song “I am Rock” I noticed how the lyrics “I am a rock,
I am an island. Ive built walls, A fortress deep and mighty,” relate to the fact that Holden doesn’t like to talk about himself, yet maybe there’s something in his past that he is keeping secret in a “fortress deep and mighty,” for a reason???

Mr. Walsh said...

Matt, isn't it interesting that this is a 1st person text and yet we feel we don't know a whole lot about the narrator?

The larger question is - How does Salinger do that? Why?

DAvid T 2 said...

I agree some of you when you say it’s hard to trust Holden. Like most of you have already noticed, Holden says that “I’M THE MOST terrific liar you ever saw in your life,” at the beginning of chapter 3. If he is such a terrific liar, how do we know the story he’s telling us now, through his perspective, is real? It is unreliable. As we have discussed in class, Holden is telling his story to someone in a mental facility. It makes it even harder for us to believe Holden when we find out he’s in a mental facility, but that doesn’t mean he’s crazy, well, he could be. We’ll just have to go deeper into the book. I also agree with you all when you say he is a phoney too. He calls adults phoneys, but he is a phoney himself. He lies to others and he doesn’t show us who he really is. We think his a moody, emo kid, but when Jane is mentioned, he shows us a child-like personality that we didn’t think he had. O.K., I think his a moody, emo kid, but I can’t be the only one. I don’t understand why Holden keeps going to prep schools if he thinks that everyone there is a big FAKE. Why doesn’t he go to a public school or something?

evelyn L 2 said...

I like the story, Catcher In The Rye. It may be to early for me to say that I like Holden as a character, but I do so far. The lyrics to the 3 songs we had to read all, to me, sounded unhopeful and unhappy about the world, as if they wanted to be left alone so they could protect themselves from what they fear could happen. Holden’s point of view on people and the world I guess could be this, but he gets personal when he tells us about his brothers death. You immediately know he truly cared for his brother if he went around breaking windows and maybe more damage if he could.

I don’t think Holden is entirely pessimistic on his view of things. To me he does this because he is protecting himself from something else. Its obvious that he doesn’t tell us to much of his childhood or life in general, but that may be for a reason. I think he focuses his criticizing thoughts on people to diverge us away from what he thinks of himself and why he does or thinks things. “Matt, isn't it interesting that this is a 1st person text and yet we feel we don't know a whole lot about the narrator?” This goes along with why Salinger may be doing this, and does it by focusing the main characters thoughts, on other people, and their problems

Mr. Walsh said...

Evelyn, good last point. Bring this up in class.

Amir Q. 4 said...

In J.D Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” the main character Holden is described to have a very negative outlook on life. He is very pessimistic and appears to not care about what is happening around him. Since all the things that occur in his world are all presented to the reader through his point of view, his world also appears to the reader to be a pessimistic and bad place. “On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. I am a rock, I am an island. I’ve built walls, a fortress deep and mighty, that none may penetrate. I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.” (I am a Rock) describes a loner who cuts themselves off of the world, just as Holden seems to do. “Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again.” (The Sounds of Silence) also hints at some one who has cut themselves off from others all 3 share a very pessimistic outlook on life that is the same as Holden has.

Jillann C 2 said...

After I finished reading the first five chapters of “Catcher in the Rye “, I got the impression that was a judgmental person who doesn’t like to associate with most people which is probably why he didn’t attend the football game. However, it seems as if Holden is upset about something more than the fact that he gets annoyed easily. Once Holden brought up the topic of his brother, Allie, who apparently died of leukemia when he was ten, I wondered if Holden was still upset over the loss of his brother. By Holden telling us about Allie it made me realize a few connections. The obvious connections for me were realizing that the main character referred to the past in the short stories we’ve already read like “Bullet in the Brain”, “For Esmé- with love and squalor”, and “The Last Judgment”. Along with the short stories, I also connected “The Catcher in the Rye” with “My Sister’s Keeper” which was once of my summer reading books about a family with a daughter who had leukemia.
Once I read the lyrics to the songs the Mr. Walsh suggested us to read, I immediately saw a similarity in all of them. In the song, “The Sound of Silence”, I related it to Holden and how he always keeps to himself and won’t tell anyone what is wrong with him. In the song “I am a Rock”, since it talks about loneliness, death, and love, it made me think of the fact that Holden has been lonely ever since Holden died since he loved him so much. Finally, in the last song, “Homeward Bond”, it talks about home and that immediately made me think of how Holden doesn’t want to go home since it might bring up painful memories about Allie.
From what I’ve learned about Holden as of now, it seems like he acts like this lonely person who doesn’t get along with many people because he doesn’t want to get close to them since that may lead to him telling that person about whatever is bothering him. Or, if he gets close to a person, he may not want to because he is scared of losing another person who’s close to him.

Malik B. 4 said...

Holden as a character initially struck me as a crabby and somewhat negative person. Holden’s first words “If you really want to hear about it…” give me the feeling he is reluctantly sharing his story meaning he may have something to hide or is uncomfortable with the situation. As more and more time passes Holden seems to complain about “phonies” more and more but at the same time I see the phoniness in him more than any other characters he’s trying to convince us are. Holden’s lies are an example of his immaturity. Holden has said that he lies randomly to keep himself entertained which is pretty juvenile. I find myself viewing Holden as harsh at times, but now that I think about it that might be because his thoughts and speech aren’t filtered. Sometimes people in general think harsh things but others don’t hear about them because we can control what we say but as a narrator all of Holden’s thoughts and words are being scrutinized.
I agree with Casey that Holden doesn’t take life very seriously. Holden has been kicked out of several schools and as it happens again he doesn’t seem too upset. Holden doesn’t seem to think about his future. I wonder if his brother’s death has anything to do with his behavior now. I was also wondering why Holden was so excited to hear that Jane Gallagher was in town. Was Jane one person Holden could truly relate to after his brother’s death?

Steven E. 4 said...

To me Holden seems like a person who doesn’t are about life. He always says he is bored or has nothing to do. It seems like he doesn’t have many friends and he’s a phony for pretending to like people he doesn’t, like Ackley. He also doesn’t seem like he cares about his future. We find out in the book when he goes to Mr. Spencer’s house that he is failing all of his classes, except for English. That tells me he doesn’t care what happens to him when he grows up. The song “I Am A Rock” is best for describing Holden. In the beginning of the song “I Am A Rock”, it says the character is looking out the window at snow, just like what Holden was doing. Also, it says I have my books hiding in my room. In the story Holden was in his room reading a book. Then Ackley came in and Holden was trying to hide or not be seen by wearing his hat and not looking up from his book.

Mr. Walsh said...

Jillann - I am a little confused about the connections you made between Catcher and the short fiction pieces. Are you saying that all have to do with characters and their past? If so, in what way? I think there are some deep connections you can make on this thread.

Malik, you may wish to think about following immaturity as a theme in your journal.

Savannah W 2 said...

I think Holden in The Catcher in the Rye is kind of nutty, and I thought he was supposed to seek professional help for saying that he thinks everybody in the world around him are phonies except for him. I think he is severely depressed. He doesn't know his place in the world and since his past is so bad , he holds it in and has nobody to share it with, because he can't find anybody that's just like him. In those songs lyrics, those people seem to be the same way .They can only trust themselves, and they want to be alone and they don't know who to open up to. They all stay in their own world because it's the only place that they are happy, but Anders isn't in touch with reality, I think the song lyrics show people who are depressed and their ideal world. Anders ideal world is a world where nobody is "Phony " and just like him even though I think he is the real phony.

::HebaK:: 4 said...

In the novel, “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, the main character seems to a negative outlook towards life. Holden isolated himself and talks towards life like it’s a piece of paper. “You’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap.”(Salinger 1) He seems careless about life: well, maybe not all life; but his life. Mr. Walsh asked what Holden is being bothered by. I think he is being bothered by the fact that his parents might have neglected him and wanted him out of their way. I’ve read several books with topics and themes like the one in “The Catcher in the Rye“. The parents don’t understand the kid, make him do something stupid, the kid gets in trouble, and gets sent away. The relationship between child and parents is important. The more parents understand and forgive the child, the less troubled they will be. Holden gets kicked out of schools and has isolated himself from everyone. One of the main reasons for this is because of his parents. Holden doesn’t mention much about his parents, do you think this shows that he doesn’t want to talk about them because of the neglecting?(Would it be painful talking about them?)

Kellie L 4 said...

In the "Catcher in the Rye", Holden appears as anti-social, easily annoyed, bored of life, and as many of you said, hard to trust. I think that there is a different side to Holden that we do not see such as indecisiveness and shyness. When Holden was in his room, a boy from the next room barged in and started touching all of his things. Instead of saying something, Holden just dealt with him even though he was really annoyed. This made me sense some shyness in Holden. Also, the same boy asked Holden for a pair of scissors which were all the way up packed away in Holden’s closet. Instead of saying no, Holden went through the trouble of getting the scissors and ended up getting bashed in the head because the bag was up so high. Finally, Holden’s roommate asked Holden to write his English paper for him. This time, Holden stuck up for himself, but eventually ended up doing the homework. This made Holden seem like a pushover. So far, Holden’s character seems “phony” because he lies, doesn’t say what he feels, and doesn’t stick up for himself. Even though he is “phony”, I like his character because he notices how “phony” other people are but he never notices how “phony” he really is.

henry d:2 said...

Holden is shown as a emotional wrecked troubled child. Holden seems to be judgmental to the extreme, he criticizes everything , everybody and people who are “phony.” Holden also alienates himself against the world, it is shown when he talks about the two sides of the fields in the game. He feels he isn‘t with the hot-shots. He portrays the world as him against everyone, he believes everyone is a phony, or too typical. He may be hypocritical, but he isn’t a “phony.” Savannah when you said that “those people seem to be the same way. They can only trust themselves, and they want to be alone and they don't know who to open up to. They all stay in their own world because it's the only place that they are happy..,” It describes Holden partly, but he doesn’t want to stay in his own world, he desperately craves for friendship and love, yet he is unable to due to his own protection ultimately hurting him. Holden is quite interesting, he given a normal life yet he is a troubled child. I’m positive something devastating happened in the past that completely changed him. A funny thought, the word caul seemed very familiar so I looked it up and it means a membrane that covers the head of a fetus during birth, could it symbolize his innocence, ultimately his blindness of the adult world?

Mr. Walsh said...

Henry, interesting about the idea of Holden's last name. I never thought of it as symbolic. We will be reading a short piece of fiction later in the year about a "caul" baby.

There might be something to your point as I am typing this - I wonder about the first name - Holden...what is he "holding" on to? I could just be overanalyzing the names. This isn't Dickens. We can talk about this in class though.

Trang T 2 said...

After i finished reading the song lyrics, i felt that there's a connection between Catcher in the rye and the meaning of lyrics. They both have a very quite and sad tone. The main characters are lonely and they hardly have any friendship. They also share the most common thing. They talk to the nature or themselves.