A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Will Smith

"Six Degrees of Separation - Findings From the Book: The Catcher in the Rye"

A substitute teacher out on Long lsland was dropped from his job for fighting with a student. A few weeks later, he returned to the classroom, shot the student - unsuccessfully, held the class hostage, and then shot himself - successfully. This fact caught my eye. Last sentence, Times - 'A neighbor described the teacher as a nice boy, always reading Catcher in the Rye.'

This nit-wit Chapman, who shot John Lennon, said he did it because he wanted to draw the attention of the world to Catcher in the Rye, and the reading of this book would be his defense.

Young Hinckley, the whiz kid who shot Reagan and his press secretary, said: 'If you want my defense, all you have to do is read Catcher in the Rye.'...

I borrowed a copy from a young friend of mine, because I wanted to see what she had underlined. And I read this book to find out why this touching, beautiful, sensitive story, published in July 1951, had turned into this manifesto of hate. I started reading. It's exactly as I had remembered. Everybody's a phony. Page two - 'My brother's in Hollywood being a prostitute.' Page three - "What a phony slob his father was.' Page nine - 'People never notice anything.' Then, on page 22, my hair stood up. Well. Remember Holden Caulfield, the definitive sensitive youth wearing his red hunter's cap? A deer hunter's cap? 'Like hell it is. I sort of closed one eye like I was taking aim at it.' 'This is a people shooting hat. I shoot people in this hat.'

This book is preparing people for bigger moments in their lives than I had ever dreamed of. Then, on page 89, 'I'd rather push a guy out the window or chop his head off with an axe than sock him in the jaw.' 'I hate fistfights. What scares me most is the other guy's face.' I finished the book. It's touching and comic. The boy wants to do so much and can't do anything. Hates all phoniness and only lies to others. Wants everyone to like him but is only hateful and is completely self involved. In other words, a pretty accurate picture of a male adolescent.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #


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