Saturday, November 18, 2006

position of catcher:

I just finished reading Catcher in the Rye. Well, actually, I just finished rereading it. I'd read it once before, four years ago, mainly during breaks during my job. I didn't the book then, as it was too raw, too consuming.

I had to read it again for my Major Author class; there's a quiz on it Tuesday afternoon. I read it all today, and forced myself to take a break from it, halfway through. It's too real. It's like reading someone's diary, someone's thoughts, and that makes me uncomfortable. This book makes me incredibly listless...depressed, even. and while I appreciate it more now than I did four years ago, I still don't like it. A huge part of me despises it.

I partially detest it because I cannot mentally separate J.D. Salinger from his creation. Certainly, the book is semi-autobiographical; yet it's Salinger himself who disturbs me. I read a biography on him last week; if he were a normal eccentric (sorry for the oxymoron), I could find a way to relate to him, on some level. But he is beyond eccentric; and his life is full of contraditions. I know that in itself is not a good enough reason to write him off -- pardon the pun -- but he agitates me to the point where I can't view his work without thinking of the author himself.

A few oddities:

Salinger served in the U.S. military during WWII, from 1942-45. He was half-Jewish, yet the Holocaust never appeared to make any sort of impact on him; he was apathetic about it. He arrested members of the Nazi party, then married one in 1945.

He never finished even a year of college, and forced his young girlfriends to drop out of college in order to be with him.

Oh, yes; the "young girlfriends"? He had a thing for 16 year olds. That was okay back in the '40s, when he was in his early twenties, but when he was 54 and interested in them...that's just...ugh. His current wife is roughly 43 years younger than he is.

There are so many other odd, disturbing things, but the ones I listed are some of the ones that I really just don't understand. I can't relate to him on any level, yet when I read his books it's as though I am in his skin, for a while, and it's incredibly depressing.

Did that make any sense? I don't know.

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