viernes, septiembre 22, 2006

"The Catcher in the Rye"

Some may read The Cather in the Rye and extract some feeling disgust for those who surround him. As our Holden Caulfield wanders the cold grey streets of New York City we see him fall deeper and deeper into a pit of disilusion with the inauthenticity of his world. Everyone is a "phoney:" a fake, an unconcious liar to themselves about who and what they really are.

To Holden, life is grey and without much meaning, and he feels that he is the only one brave enough to recognize it. He is trapped in a world in which he feels is composed of lies formed to hide us from our own human weaknesses.

What makes this book so timeless, is that as readers we must inevitably ask ourselves with whom we identify more: the disilusioned Holden? or the phonies that surround him?
The clothes we wear, the places we choose to eat and drink in, the type of language we use, and the people we surround ourselves with... do these things genuinely reflect who we are, or are we somehow bound to these things because of what we want to be, or better yet: what we feel we should be?

In this way, Holden's 1950's world in New York City could be easily compared to our own. Our MTV and fashion-saturated pop-culture has nearly erased the idea of authenticity, even more than in Holden's time. At some point, it seems that we became a society of followers. Or as Holden says: "Its funny. All you have to do is say something that nobody understands, and they'll do practically anything you tell them to."

As we follow the latest fashion trends, listen to the music that is selected for us on the radio, assume the religous and political beliefs instilled into our surroundings, Holden causes us to stop and ask ourselves "In what aspect of our lives do we emerge as an independent, and more importantly, authentic individual?"

So what? Are we all just a bunch of phonies? How can a person succeed at being authentic in a culture that pushes us to smile and asimilate?

Exerpts from the book:

"You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phoney stuff in the movies, and nine times out of ten they're mean bastards at heart.”

"Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's a phoney. I could puke every time I hear it."

"I'm just sick of liking people. I wish to God I could meet someone I could respect."


Anna Kudsk

Thanks for your contribution to Lienzo Poetica Anna!

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