The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951), 214p.

Holden Calfield hates people, they are phony or bastards, to tell you the truth. “The Catcher in the Rye” is a book written in a quick and light, a corny lingo so to speak, and it is an icon for its time and perhaps still for teenagers in ours. The more so I am surprised, taken by the fact that it is exactly how I feel. I cannot get excited over most people or experiences, most events do not stir my heart. But how can it be a surprise, it would be phony to pretend the world is not, the world is a bore. I am embarrassed by the majority of people, their rude ways, their lack of refinement, their habit of elevating their commonalities to unique features. But no matter how often they repeat it, they are not unique, they are ordinary bores. Is it surprising that I am not salved from this nuisance? Our lives are dominated by daily routines, common instincts that are identical despite the conditions, we are limited in our patterns, how hard is it to get excited and thrilled by this ordinary? Is it not a less remarkable perception to be not surprised? I am stunned to see so many people be bored at first and the older they get, the more of it they take in, the more amused they become. It is like someone eating more and more of the same, but instead of reaching a point where he gets nauseated and has to puke, it makes them drunk and amused. Commonalities are a dope that deludes the brain.

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