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ankitagrawal

ankitagrawal

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Oliver Twist
George Cruikshank, Charles Dickens, Philip Horne
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger 3 Stars is what I would say this book deserves. The only reason for my having given this 4 is because of the character on whom the whole book is surrounded - Holden Caulfield.Characters are the main thing which make a particular book good or bad. You can sometimes cope with not so good a story, can also cope with not so good writing but you can never enjoy a book if you don't like or love its characters. We come across several books after reading which we feel "oh i want to be this character or that character in my life." Seldom do we come across books after reading which we say "I think the character perfectly personifies myself." Thats what I felt after reading Holden Caulfield in this book. I have never read a book in which I found so much similarities in myself and the book character. Reading about Holden Caulfield in this book was like reading my own memoir or my own inner thoughts. What personification... !!! I am not going to write about what similarities I found because I don't want spoilers in the review and I don't want to share my personal life here as well.Coming to the book, I thought the writing was not so good. Repetitive usage of the same words and phrases made the book quite monotonous at times. The book was merely 214 pages and in that I read the word "goddamn" & "phony" at least 100 times. There were many such words and phrases repeated many times, the writer could have done very well using synonyms in that case which would have had the same effect if not better or at least it would have taken out the monotonous tone out of the book. Another thing which frustrated me was whatever Holden though or said he backed it up by adding the word "really" everytime. For ex:- I studied for 2 hours on Sunday. I really did. Now there was no need for all this. OK he did a certain thing or thought so but then why do need to stress that point so much?? And again the repetitive use of the word "really" agonized me. All these things almost made me quit the book at one point. But the portrait of the character was so good that it made you forget everything else. Once you got through the initial hurdle and started understanding who, why and how Holden really who start feeling for him and give him excuses as the book was written in Holden's own words. His reckless behaviour very well hid his actual sad and lost boy in the cruel and selfish world outside. He feels lonely and wandering in his own world/thoughts of a beautiful life which he could live according to his rules. According to everybody else he is supposed to be the most impractical person around. He doesn't want to do things which the world does, he only wants to do things which he really likes and enjoys doing. One thing he doesn't want to attend school or exams just to pass, infact he's a repeated failure but for him study means really learning something and applying it to real life. At first it might seem to many that he is afraid of school and exams but thats not the case. The thing is he doesn't want to allow the exam results or his teachers remarks to decide his fate in any way. This way is very well explained by the essay he writes on the Egyptians in his History Paper. The essay goes on like this:The Egyptians are extremely interesting to us today for various reasons. Modern science would still like to know what the secret ingredients were that the Egyptians used when they wrapped up dead people so that their faces would not rot for innumerable centuries. This interesting riddle is still quite a challenge to modern science in the twentieth century.and then he writes a note below the essay:DEAR MR. SPENCER [he read out loud]. That is all I know about the Egyptians. I can't seem to get very interested in them although your lectures are very interesting. It is all right with me if you flunk me though as I am flunking everything else except English anyway. Respectfully yours, HOLDEN CAULFIELDHe is also a very kind hearted and loving. He shows his love and affection for his sister. He loves children and their innocence and thats why he is an adolescent boy who fears his childhood coming to an end. This is the reason why he wants to be "The Catcher In The Rye", to save the children getting otu of their innocence. He even worries about the animals and sometimes doesn't shy away from asking people "What happens to the ducks in the pond in the winter season when the pond is frozen?" He is also a boy who loves to speak the truth and likes people who are that way. He hates movies because he feels movies are very phony and not genuine at all. Say an actor is acting a particular part but he might not be the same in real life so why does he do it?There are many such things and he makes a valid point in all of those. It might seem very impractical, childish stuff but it shows the yearning and shouting of a man who just like all of us is crumpled in the meanness of the modern world. The boy speaks the hard truth about today's life. He wants the world to be a better place. We all live and republic countries but are we really free. There are so many restrictions, prejudices we live under. Theory is what matters, not practicality. A university degree is enough for someone to make him a doctor even though he doesn't know how to operate bodies but someone who knows that and doesn't have a degree is not good enough to be a doctor.Finally I would conclude by saying (actually copying a bit from someone else's review) that The Catcher In The Rye is a book about a boy so afraid of growing up and so averse to giving into the pain and sadness that he sees as the result of becoming an adult that he wants nothing more than to spend his life protecting others from losing the innocence of childhood. Big, crazy, “I want to save the world” dreams are a wonderful part of childhood and it is a shame that such ideas and beliefs are too often destroyed under the barrage of “you really need to grow up” rather than having such dreams transitioned and re-focused into daring the improbable within the world of the possible. For me it is a MUST READ