Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behaviour. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as some day, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.”
-- Mr. Antolini, to Holden Caulfield, in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye


Have a great Tuesday!
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4 comments:

Alyce said...

I have heard so many negative things about this book, but that is a very eloquent quote.

cipriano said...

What?
Oh blasphemy, BLASPHEMY!
It's a terrific book. Legendarily so.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I loved the book from the moment I read it. And I continue to love it.

Ah, Alyce. You have to experience it, not listen to what someone says about it. :)

I actually teach it (one of the most frequently banned books in high schools across the US - thus proving that there has to be something really powerful about it) and I have found in my years of teaching that kids used to like it far more than they do today.

This is one thing in my teaching that bothers me a lot.

Holden is the only sane character in the whole thing. He and his sister Phoebe, maybe. And he ends up in an institution.

The reason I love the passage that cipriano selected is that it is a scene where, in my interpretation, Mr. Antolini is reaching out to Holden - but Holden thinks he is making a pass at him. It is a huge misunderstanding, (in my view)...and illustrates Holden's inability to respond to someone who truly cares for him. The irony is that he doesn't "learn" from what Mr. Antolini is telling him there.

The darkness around us is deep. Holden knows it.
But he doesn't know what to do about it. There's the rub. He is like Seymour, another of my favorite - PEOPLE - in Salinger.

(I think I like the messed up types.)

Read it, Alyce! Don't listen to anyone but yourself!

The human condition. Beautifully described, I think, by Mr. Recluse Salinger.

cipriano said...

Oh, I totally agree with you, Anonymous.
I have never read a Salinger book I did not LOVE!
And that includes his short stories, and I am generally not a big fan of the short-story genre.

Some might argue that Salinger stuff is dated.
So is Tolstoy.