330 - Recommended Reading: The Catcher in the Rye



Rob Anderson (Standard British accent)

So (The) Catcher in the Rye, which was a book by J.D. Salinger, is an interesting book in many ways. And I first and last read it a long, long time ago, about 40 years ago, and it meant things to me as a young person, things which… I didn’t see the darker and… and... side of the book when I first read it, I… I simply saw it as a book about a young person who was trying to make sense of his world. And in the book Holden Caulfield has various encounters with the outside world which are always disastrous, something always goes wrong, and he’s always either left on his own or he runs away from the situation. The book resonates with… with… with… with his quest for answers about society and what’s happening. He goes to see old teachers, he goes to see old friends. It’s as if he’s digging back in... into his past, to try and find answers which he... he himself hasn’t got. There is a refrain in the book, which is “Where do ducks go in winter?” He… he finds the world confusing, and is confused. There is one character in the book, however, who… who seems to understand him, an old girlfriend, and she offers him the chance to… to… to leave, to escape, and there’s a point at the end of the book where he has the opportunity to leave with Sally and presumably start a new life and make sense of life, and he… in the end he decides not to leave with Sally but actually to stay, and the book finishes with him watching his young sister... on a merry-go-round, and that’s how the book ends. So his confusion therefore remains. He doesn’t resolve any issues, the issues remain, he remains, and it resonates with young people for that reason... there are… at that age it seems there are no clear answers to many, many questions.

(Rob Anderson was talking to Mark Worden)