Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Holden Redux

I admit it: I didn't like Catcher in the Rye. Or, more precisely, I didn't like that our high school literature teacher had us focus so intently on the "symbolism" of red hats and brass rings that we missed the story. Really. I can't remember much beyond the aforementioned, except something about ducks in a frozen pond.

The same thing happened to The Great Gatsby. On my first reading, I was so wrapped up in yellow cars and green lights that I couldn't hear the sultry energy of the prose or see it's cinematic sweep until a second and third read. I'm sure that Salinger would be better, or at least more memorable, a second time around as well.

This train of thought was prompted by the fact that Salinger has been in the news lately. It seems like our great literature is suffering the threat of the sequel (from a guy who goes by the name John David California, no less) in much the same way that our great films are. Maybe, instead of fretting over the possibility of a literary version of Grease II, we should revisit and reread the originals. They must be great for a reason, right?

2 comments:

Lindsey said...

part of the reason i'm so glad i read catcher in the rye of my own accord in mid-adolescence. it was the right book at the right time, and no one could tell me what i should be seeing in the book except what was right in front of me. one of my top 5 all time faves.

Katie Cappello said...

I wish I could say the same...fortunately, I read The Scarlet Letter on my own before I was unduly influenced!