Tag: TheCatcher in the Rye

The Impact These 2 ‘Coming of Age’ Novels Had on Me

How do books touch us in such profound ways?

The impact that books have on readers has a lot to do with the time in their lives at which people read them. When the narrative of a book aligns with or mirrors the experience a reader is going through, a powerful lasting impression is left upon that person. When I first read J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye in my sophomore year of high school, I connected with the main character Holden Caulfield immediately. His mental dilemma regarding the authenticity of the adult world was a topic I identified with so easily. Holden is a character that is the embodiment of genuineness, and made The Catcher in the Rye one of my favorite books of all time.

 

It’s hard not to wonder how differently someone would react to a book if they had simply read it in a different time in their life. These are the two books that had the most profound impact on me growing up and have taught me essential lessons.

 

The Giver by Lois Lowry

 

Image Via Amazon

The Giver is set in the perspective of an eleven-year-old boy, Jonas, living in a world devoid of war, hatred, pain, and fear. Because everybody acts the same and looks the same, there is no prejudice. There is no color. The world is also devoid of choice, as when every child turns twelve, they are assigned a job based on their talents and abilities. This book is generally part of middle school English curriculums, and is perfect for students at that age as it emphasizes the value of the contrast between pleasure and pain, and the importance of individuality.

I first read this book when I was thirteen years old. As a kid, I never knew the importance of pain and suffering, until I read The Giver. It put into perspective how crucial grief, heartache, and unhappiness should be in my life. A world without pain is ultimately a world unable to advance. Emotion is the foundation of individual growth, and this book played a big part of my maturation. As I got older, and experienced emotionally burdening moments, I would always think back to this book and what it taught me about how dealing with your sentiments is so vital. Somebody on the verge of their teenage years will truly understand why pain and suffering in this world is necessary for individual growth after reading this classic novel.

 

 

The Adventures of HuckleBerry Finn by Mark Twain

 

Image Via PBS

The foundation for bildungsromans, or ‘coming of age; novels, this book follows the protagonist, Huck, maturing as he goes through different experiences in his life. The novel primarily presents him as an immature boy, goofing around and playing tricks with his good friend Tom Sawyer. He has good intentions, but a moral sense that is misshapen by the society in which he was raised. He is constantly in a battle with himself, as he is constantly hard on himself when he does not turn in a runaway slave, Jim, as though that would be the right thing to do. Yet, as the novel progresses, so does Huck’s conception of what is right and wrong. He learns that many codes of conduct such as Christianity don’t necessarily produce good actions. By the end of the book, Huck is realistic and mature, while Tom still has a lot of developing to do. This book is the embodiment of independent self growth, and arguably the most perceptive coming of age novel of all time, especially taking into consideration its 1884 release date.

 

This book taught me that questioning every aspect of life is essential in creating your own unique frame of mind. Mark Twain shows the reader from the beginning of the novel that Huck is a boy who comes from the most dire conditions of white society. His father is a drunk who constantly vanishes for months on end. Furthermore, Huck himself is continually homeless. Although characters throughout the book attempt to reform Huck, he resists their efforts and maintains his independence. His experiences and instincts as he continues his adventures make him question everything he has learned from the society around him. According to the law at the time, the runaway slave Jim was Miss Watson’s property. But Huck’s judgment and fairness allowed him do the right thing and help Jim out. His actions go against the basic foundation of his society at the time, but in context they are faithful. Questioning is essential to intellectual growth, especially at a young age, because it allows you to develop your own personality. This book taught me to live, rather than to merely exist, or to become a critically thinking human being, rather than just a pawn in society.

 

 

Featured Image Via Inquiries Journal

 

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5 Literary Relics People Spent WAY Too Much Money On

As we’ve covered before, some literary memorabilia sell for thousands and thousands of dollars. In one insane instance, a Hogwarts Acceptance letter from the first Harry Potter film sold for $40,000. The Harry Potter franchise isn’t the first to sell items from the films for insane amounts of cash. Everything from wallets to toilets to ashes of beloved stars have sold for immense amounts of money. Here are a list of some of the most obscure literary relics sold at auction. 

 

 

1. Charles Dickens’s Toothpick

 

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Image Via The Telegraph 

 

Engraved with his initials and used on his last visit to America, Charles Dickens’s toothpick sold at action in 2009 for $9,150. The tiny object was put up for auction by heirs of the Barnes and Noble family.

 

2. Harper Lee Taj Mahal Letter

 

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Image Via Nate D. Sanders

 

Harper Lee wrote a letter to her friend Doris Leapard in August of 1990 with content spanning all sorts of topics from social revolution to novels she was enjoying. At the end of the letter, Lee even apologized for the quality of her typewriter. Her lyrical style seen in To Kill A Mockingbird was used to trash Donald Trump and his Taj Mahal-inspired casino in New Jersey. The letter sold for $3,926 at an auction in New York in 2016. 

 

3. Sylvia Plath’s Wallet

 

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Image Via Bonhams

 

A wallet put up for auction included Sylvia Plath’s ID cards including her Boston Public Library, her Poetry Society of America membership card, driver’s license, social security card, and a small photo of Plath with her mother. The wallet sold for $11,669 March 21, 2018. Along with the wallet, some of Plath’s other belongings were also sold including her fishing rod, articles of clothing, and her drawings. 

 

4. J.D. Salinger’s Toilet

 

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Image Via Writers Write 

 

The beloved Catcher in the Rye author’s toilet was sold on Ebay with a letter from the present homeowner, confirming that the toilet was formerly owned by the reclusive author. The item came “uncleaned and in its original condition”, as stated in the ad. The toilet sold for $1,000,000, not including cleaning fees. 

 

5. X-Ray of Ernest Hemingway’s Foot

 

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via Bonhams

 

The injuries shown in the x-rays Ernest Hemingway would later be detailed in his novel, A Farewell to ArmsThe x-ray remains in its original hospital file folder with labels identifying it as his. The lot included the x-ray of his foot, ankle, and knee where a bullet can clearly be seen. The auction ended on December 7, 2016 with the x-rays selling for $15,000

 

Featured Image Via William Pitt.

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10 Holden Caulfield Quotes About Life That Are 100% Accurate

If one could describe Holden Caulfield in three words, they’d probably be: Angsty, obnoxious, and anti-phony.

 

The sixteen-year-old protagonist of J.D. Salinger’s iconic and only novel, The Catcher in the Rye, has annoyed, baffled, and offended readers since its release in 1951. His manic antics, obsession with calling out society, and sensitive statements have managed to make The Catcher in the Rye one of the most read novels (and most banned novels) of all-time. While some of his statements are indeed offensive and bizarre, this angsty teen has some pretty on-the-mark views about life.

 

Here are ten of Holden’s quotes about life that are pretty darn accurate.

 

1.“People never notice anything.” 

 

2.”Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.”

 

3.“That’s something that annoys the hell out of me- I mean if somebody says the coffee’s all ready and it isn’t.” 

 

4.”I’m always saying “Glad to’ve met you” to someone I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.”

 

5. “It’s partly true, too, but it isn’t all true. People always think something’s all true.”

 

6.“That’s the whole trouble. When you’re feeling very depressed, you can’t even think.”

 

7.“Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.”

 

8.“Lots of time you don’t know what interests you most till you start talking about something that doesn’t interest you most.” 

 

9. “People are always ruining things for you”

 

10. “I don’t care if it’s a sad good-bye or a bad good-bye, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.”

 

 

Featured Image Via ‘Wired Reader’

Feature Image Courtesy of Amazon/Vanity Fair

Top 10 Classical Novels That Received Dreadful Reviews

 

Most of us have grown so accustomed to classical works of novelists being regarded as the epitome of literary excellence that we become unaware of the problematic aspects of these stories. Even the most beautifully written and well-arranged prose can suffer under the bitter scrutiny of critical minds. For these enduring works of literature that have lasted decades or even centuries, their initial response were not always positive. 

 

Here is a collection of some of the harshest and most scathing commentaries well-known authors have received. The titles mentioned are not listed in any particular order.

 

1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

 

Via Amazon

Image Courtesy of Amazon

 

Catch-22 has much passion, comic and fervent, but it gasps for want of craft and sensibility… Its author, Joseph Heller, is like a brilliant painter who decides to throw all the ideas in his sketchbooks onto one canvas, relying on their charm and shock to compensate for the lack of design… The book is an emotional hodgepodge; no mood is sustained long enough to register for more than a chapter.” — Richard G. Stern, The New York Times Book Review, 1961

 

2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

 

Amazon

Image Courtesy of Amazon

 

“But the most conspicuous lack, in comparison with the classics of the fearsome-future genre, is the inability to imagine a language to match the changed face of common life. No newspeak. And nothing like the linguistic tour de force of A Clockwork Orange – the brutal melting-down of current English and Slavic words that in itself tells the story of the dread new breed. The writing of The Handmaid’s Tale is undistinguished in a double sense, ordinary if not glaringly so, but also indistinguishable from what one supposes would be Margaret Atwood’s normal way of expressing herself in the circumstances. This is a serious defect, unpardonable maybe for the genre: a future that has no language invented for it lacks a personality. That must be why, collectively, it is powerless to scare.” — Mary McCarthy, The New York Times, February 9, 1986

 

3. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

 

Via Goodreads

Image Courtesy of Goodreads

 

“At a conservative estimate, one million dollars will be spent by American readers for this book. They will get for their money 34 pages of permanent value. These 34 pages tell of a massacre happening in a little Spanish town in the early days of the Civil War…Mr. Hemingway: please publish the massacre scene separately, and then forget For Whom the Bell Tolls; please leave stories of the Spanish Civil War to Malraux…” — Commonweal, 1940

 

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

 

Via Amazon

Image Courtesy of Amazon

 

“This Salinger, he’s a short story guy. And he knows how to write about kids. This book though, it’s too long. Gets kind of monotonous. And he should’ve cut out a lot about these jerks and all that crumby school. They depress me.” — James Stern, The New York Times, 1951

 

5. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

 

Via Goodreads

Image Courtesy of Goodreads

 

“The short, flat sentences of which the novel is composed convey shock and despair better than an array of facts or effusive mourning. Still, deliberate simplicity is as hazardous as the grand style, and Vonnegut occasionally skids into fatuousness…” — Susan Lardner, The New Yorker, May 17, 1969 Issue

 

6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

 

Via Goodreads

Image Courtesy of Goodreads

 

Lolita then, is undeniably news in the world of books. Unfortunately, it is bad news. There are two equally serious reasons why it isn’t worth any adult reader’s attention. The first is that it is dull, dull, dull in a pretentious, florid and archly fatuous fashion. The second is that it is repulsive… 

Past the artistic danger line of madness is another even more fatal. It is where the particular mania is a perversion like Humbert’s. To describe such a perversion with the pervert’s enthusiasm without being disgusting is impossible. If Mr. Nabokov tried to do so he failed.”  — Orville Prescott, The New York Times, August 18, 1958

 

7. Ulysses by James Joyce

 

Via Literary Hub

Image Courtesy of Literary Hub

 

Ulysses appears to have been written by a perverted lunatic who has made a speciality of the literature of the latrine… I have no stomach for Ulysses… James Joyce is a writer of talent, but in Ulysses he has ruled out all the elementary decencies of life and dwells appreciatively on things that sniggering louts of schoolboys guffaw about. In addition to this stupid glorification of mere filth, the book suffers from being written in the manner of a demented George Meredith. There are whole chapters of it without any punctuation or other guide to what the writer is really getting at. Two-thirds of it is incoherent, and the passages that are plainly written are devoid of wit, displaying only a coarse salacrity [sic] intended for humour.” — Aramis, The Scandal of Ulysses in The Sporting Times, April 1, 1922

 

8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

 

Via Livejournal

Image Courtesy of LiveJournal

 

“How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors.” — Graham’s Lady’s Magazine, July 1848

 

“We rise from the perusal of Wuthering Heights as if we had come fresh from a pest-house. Read Jane Eyre is our advice, but burn Wuthering Heights.” — Paterson’s Magazine, February 1848

 

“What may be the moral which the author wishes the reader to deduce from his work, it is difficult to say; and we refrain from assigning any, because to speak honestly, we have discovered none but mere glimpses of hidden morals or secondary meanings. In Wuthering Heights the reader is shocked, disgusted, almost sickened by details of cruelty, inhumanity, and the most diabolical hate and vengeance, and anon come passages of powerful testimony to the supreme power of love—even over demons in the human form. The women in the book are of a strange fiendish-angelic nature, tantalising, and terrible, and the men are indescribable out of the book itself.”  — Douglas Jerrold’s Weekly Newspaper, January 15, 1848

 

9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Via Vanity Fair

Image Courtesy of Vanity Fair

 

 

“Let us hope that One Hundred Years of Solitude will not generate one hundred years of overwritten, overlong, overrated novels.” — Jonathan Bate, The Telegraph,  Sep 25, 1999

 

10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

Via Vanity Fair

Image Courtesy of Vanity Fair

 

“Altogether is seems to us this book is a minor performance. At the moment, its author seems a bit bored and tired and cynical.  There is no ebullience here, nor is there any mellowness or profundity. For our part, The Great Gatsby might just as well be called Ten Nights on Long Island.” — Ralph Coghlan, St. Louis Dispatch, April 25, 1925

 

Despite the dissatisfaction as manifested in the bitter remarks of critics, these classical works survived through generations and earned a highly-esteemed ranking on modern readers’ minds. It is only normal that a piece of prose should elicit mixed responses and sometimes stir dissonance between reviewers and readers. Depending on social and cultural factors, even if certain artistic efforts are not entirely appreciated upon its initial release, they may still have a chance or success and see to the light of day in the future.

 

Feature Image Courtesy of Amazon/Vanity Fair

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These Imagined Literary Texts Are Hilarious, Part II

Reading has a way of making us believe our favorite characters are real. Sometimes we believe they breathe the same air as us, or walk the same ground. But they don’t text (besides in part one, which you can read here).

 

Some mad geniuses have somehow got into contact with some famous literary figures, though. We’ve collected a few of the funniest ones.

 

1. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

Text of "Catcher in the Rye"

via Esquire

 

2. “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

Tale of Two Cities text

via The Poke

 

3. “The Sorrows of Young Werther” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Werther text

via Sparknotes

 

4. “The Audacity of Hope” by Barack Obama

Audacity of Hope text

via Esquire

 

5. “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo

Les Miserables text

via Sparknotes

 

6. “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

Lord of the Flies text

via The Poke

 

7. “Don Juan” by Lord Byron

Don Juan text

via Sparknotes

 

Feature image courtesy of Kim Komando.