“If a body Catch a body coming through the rye…………..”Holden Caulfield

There are no words to describe the simplistic genius of this book…J.D Salinger’s Holden Caulfield declares his struggle to utilise the most effective language to articulate himself, yet his his voice and the language he employs to convey his outlook on the world ironically creates a perfectly articulated character, whose observations and opinions I so frequently delighted with agreement.

The acute observation required to write such a character as Holden, who at large is a pretty typical adolescent boy punctuated with moments of greatness, is admirable. Salinger’s Holden is so powerful that you lose Salinger entirely and follow the words of a character that genuinely seems to have his own soul. This novel exemplifies the brilliance of a simple character driven tale.

Quotes

If I could I’d quote the entire book…

Holden: I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even,  and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera.

 …

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

Holden: I think if you don’t really like a girl, you shouldn’t horse around with her at all, and if you do like her, then you’re supposed to like her face, and if you like her face, you ought to be careful about doing crumby stuff to it, like squirting water all over it. It’s really too bad that so much crumby stuff is a lot of fun sometimes. 

Holden to Sally: “You ought to go to a boys’ school sometime. Try it sometime,” I said. “It’s full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddam Cadillac some day…”

Mr Antolini to Holden: “I’m not trying to tell you,” he said, “that only educated and scholarly men are able to contribute something valuable to the world. It’s not so. But I do say that educated and scholarly men, if they’re brilliant and creative to begin with – which, unfortunately, is rarely the case – tend to leave infinitely more valuable records behind them than men do who are merely brilliant and creative. They tend to express themselves more clearly, and they usually have a passion for following their thoughts through to the end. And – most important – nine times out of ten they have more humility than the unscholarly thinker. Do you follow me at all?”  

Mr Antolini to Holden: “Something else an academic education will do for you. If you go along with it any considerable distance, it’ll begin to give you an idea what size mind you have. What it’ll fit and, maybe, what it won’t. After a while, you’ll have an idea what kind of thoughts your particular size mind should be wearing. For one thing, it may save you an extraordinary amount of time trying on ideas that don’t suit you, aren’t becoming to you. You’ll begin to know your true measurements and dress your mind accordingly.”

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” Holden

The Catcher in the Rye, J D Salinger January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010

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