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(Slate)   Students should no longer read Catcher in the Rye, as someone wrote a better coming of age tale that is a work of literature instead of a middle-aged white male's fantasy that comes off sounding like the Stephenie Meyer of the 60s   (slate.com) divider line 137
    More: Spiffy, The Catcher in the Rye, Stephenie Meyer, narratives, white male, Holden Caulfield, Adam Ant, Peter Lorre, J.D. Salinger  
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8316 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 03 Nov 2012 at 2:15 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-03 05:52:49 PM
Tried to crack it once. Couldn't do it. Too boring.

What was so important about this book that people decided to elevate it?
 
2012-11-03 05:52:53 PM

xpennyroyaltyx: Macbeth/Othello/The Theban Plays
The Stone Angel
Huckleberry Finn
The Fellowship of the Ring
Away
A Separate Peace
Catcher in the Rye
In the Hands of the Living God
Dracula
Schindler's List
Baltimore's Mansion

My students have to read at least five from this list in order to write their Public Exam at the end of the school year. What would you choose?

/CITR apologist


None. But I found compulsion reading tedious at best. I devour books when I do read, but it has to be something I'm interested in. Stale language never did it for me. I detest and loathe shakespear in the buff (non-updated language), and even things from the turn of the 1900s bore me.

Part of the problem is that many of those stories simply came to be the basis of our modern tales, and people think reading them will give insight into things. I just found it sleep inducing.
 
2012-11-03 05:59:44 PM

Hunter_Worthington: The problem is that Catcher in the Rye is no longer was never a book for cool high school students. Catcher in the Rye is a book for cool obnoxious, self-absorbed, pretentious, high school teachers. 

Seriously, the most annoying teachers in High School were the English teachers.


Mine was annoying, but for different reasons.

/idiot, vapid twat, she was.
//Didn't even really begin to understand English until grade 12 because then it wasn't so inane anymore
 
2012-11-03 06:01:40 PM

CujoQuarrel: It's forcing kids to read books like this that turn them off reading for their entire lives.

First , teach them that reading can be fun.


Because what kids like to read these days are so enriching.

Compulsory reading is how they are ever going to be challenged.
 
2012-11-03 06:06:50 PM

Marshal805: Tried to crack it once. Couldn't do it. Too boring.

What was so important about this book that people decided to elevate it?


It's a very good, very timely book. In context, probably one of the most important pieces of fiction ever written. Which is the problem, I think. Outside the milieu of the 50's, Holden's SPECIFIC problems, and the language used in the book, are just not relevant any more. Certainly his overall adolescent issues are universal; but modern kids are going to be bored by the prep-school setting and won't get why Holden feels so trapped by his wealthy lifestyle that most of us never had. And the terrible language that so shocked 50's readers is quaint today and kids are not going to understand why adults in "Catcher" thought Holden was being so rude.

"Catcher" is really meaningless today unless it's couched in terms of its historical context, or unless the teacher is able to present it in terms of the universal issues that all teenagers face. Just handing a 15-year old a copy of the book and saying "Here, read this" isn't going to accomplish much. It hasn't aged well. Holden IS a whiny biatch, and an entitled one by today's standards, and only a good English teacher is going to be able to cut through all that to make him sympathetic to kids raised on "Twilight" and "Hunger Games" (if they've read anything at all).
 
2012-11-03 06:06:59 PM

Marshal805: Tried to crack it once. Couldn't do it. Too boring.

What was so important about this book that people decided to elevate it?



I think it speaks to a lot of sociopaths.

personally, I don't think it's as bad a book as it's been made out to be. Maybe it's because I hadn't read it until I was 20 or so, but even if I agree with some of the outlooks, I think it's handled on a very immature level; which is why I think it speaks to teenagers. Ayn Rand strikes me as kind of the same, but generally advocating very wholly atrocious social policies where Catcher in the Rye is just general biatching.
 
2012-11-03 06:25:19 PM
 
2012-11-03 06:46:17 PM
Why don't I just read whatever the fark I want to read
 
2012-11-03 06:52:19 PM
The only people that really like TCITR are the author/publisher (who get money for the copies), the schools/teachers (that can get discounted copies), and parents (because they had to put up with that boring shiat and they'll be damned if their sprog will get out of doing the same). No one else gives a rats ass about those books (unless they can get money/votes/good press for saying that they like them).


These books need to go:
- The Catcher In The Rye
- Tess Of The D'urbervilles
- The Grapes of Wrath

Replace them with:
- Stranger In A Strange Land
- IT
- Ender's Game
 
2012-11-03 06:55:55 PM
Pardon Me, You're Stepping on My Eyeball!

Marv (though probably for a younger crowd)
 
2012-11-03 07:05:40 PM
I didn't read catcher in the rye until I was in my 20s (it was my husband's book, not mine). I read it in an afternoon and I didn't get what all the hub bub was about. The protaganist had all the personality of a newspaper left out in the rain.

My "teen/preteen angst" novel was "Girl of the Limberlost". For my mother it was "Anne of Green Gables". Everyone should be able to find something that speaks to THEM. I can understand the need for high school teachers to want to expose children to different writings, but perhaps we should stop telling kids WHAT to read and just encourage them to read more. Let them find their own way. They'll find books they like and books they don't like and their tastes will mature and evolve. It's how it should be. The focus should be on selling to kids the concept of reading for enjoyment.
 
2012-11-03 07:16:08 PM
CITR was the shiattiest book of all time
 
2012-11-03 07:17:53 PM
gadian:
soft-core porn, bawdy comedy, and sensationalism

Yeah, we read "The Canterbury Tales" too.
 
2012-11-03 07:22:15 PM
upload.wikimedia.org 
 
2012-11-03 07:24:35 PM
goganbunch: I love it when people reveal that they "learned things from South Park". As if that's some sort of ivy league education they have attained from a half hour cartoon. " I know all about Scientology; I know all about Mormonism because I watched South park.". When people say poop like that I can dismiss them as idiots. South park is funny, but please stop using it as a point of reference

Huh. You know who I dismiss as idiots? People who say "South park is funny."  The world's a funny place, isn't it?
 
2012-11-03 07:52:02 PM
Dunno why he's dissing Jude the Obscure, I thought it was wonderful. Especially that bit where Kate Winslett takes all her clothes off and you can clearly see her slit through her bush.
 
2012-11-03 07:53:13 PM
We already had a coming of age book. It's called "The Sorrows of Young Werther".
 
2012-11-03 08:06:09 PM

Zarquon's Flat Tire: I thought Catcher in the Rye sucked. But I didn't read it until I was around 22, so I assume that is part of the problem. Kind of the opposite of when my school had us read The Great Gatsby at 13.

That second book really improved with a few year's perspective.


I thought it sucked as well and I read it at 15/16. I just couldn't stand how whiny the protagonist is, he's like the ultimate loser.

"Oh the world is soooo phoney." NO shiat SHERLOCK!!!! This isn't news!

In the 50's it might have been a groundbreaking book, but right now it isn't, like many other literary "classics".

I did have a faux intellectual classmate at mine say "You can't relate to the Catcher in the Rye because you never were a kid", but she's a dumbass.
 
2012-11-03 08:23:22 PM

xpennyroyaltyx: Macbeth/Othello/The Theban Plays
The Stone Angel
Huckleberry Finn
The Fellowship of the Ring
Away
A Separate Peace
Catcher in the Rye
In the Hands of the Living God
Dracula
Schindler's List
Baltimore's Mansion

My students have to read at least five from this list in order to write their Public Exam at the end of the school year. What would you choose?

/CITR apologist


Your students will pick which ever ones that they can stream the movie version online for free.

When I was going into High School, we had to have read Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, The Guns of Navarone, and Black Like Me before the first day of school. There was a test on day one. Messed up my summer of playing Commodore 64 games a bit.
 
2012-11-03 08:27:52 PM

shortymac: Zarquon's Flat Tire: I thought Catcher in the Rye sucked. But I didn't read it until I was around 22, so I assume that is part of the problem. Kind of the opposite of when my school had us read The Great Gatsby at 13.

That second book really improved with a few year's perspective.

I thought it sucked as well and I read it at 15/16. I just couldn't stand how whiny the protagonist is, he's like the ultimate loser.

"Oh the world is soooo phoney." NO shiat SHERLOCK!!!! This isn't news!

In the 50's it might have been a groundbreaking book, but right now it isn't, like many other literary "classics".

I did have a faux intellectual classmate at mine say "You can't relate to the Catcher in the Rye because you never were a kid", but she's a dumbass.


How exactly did she explain your life cycle?
 
2012-11-03 08:31:41 PM
Oh High School books...there was no better way to kill the love of a great novel than to endlessly analyze the hell out of it. Rereading them now I do enjoy and appreciate them. Even The Great Gatsby, which I swore to never appreciate after spending a SEMESTER in my junior year of High School agonizingly going over every sentence.

Really liked The Catcher in the Rye, but Ghost World was my favorite book. That is an excellent coming of age book, they go from happy teenagers who banded together to avoid being outcasts and end up growing apart. It is a graphic novel however and will probably never be taken seriously.
 
2012-11-03 08:43:13 PM
I read "Are You There God? It's Me Margaret" and spent years not knowing that women don't wear sanitary belts any more.

A suggestion for a modern addition to a fiction reading list:

Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods'.

I


The book reads like it was written by a high school creative writing student and the substance can be boiled down to "HEY AREN'T I A BADASS ANTIHERO IN A TRENCHCOAT? ALL WOMEN SURE ARE WHORES.HERE'S A LAUGHABLE PLOT THAT SHOWS PROOF I ONCE LOOKED AT A JOSEPH SCOTT CAMPBELL BOOK" so I guess it would appeal to a certain kind of high schooler.
 
2012-11-03 08:47:25 PM
When I was in 7th or 8th grade I saw a list of books that had been traditionally regarded as controversial and had been banned from school libraries in the past. Naturally I wanted to read as many of them as possible and Catcher in the Rye was one of the first I took it upon myself to read. My reaction to it was basically the same as the South Park kids when they first read it. I was the typical loner/introverted kid for most of my public school career and even I would have thought Holden was an unlikable pissant had I known him in person. A few years ago I decided to re-read it, wondering if I might be able to better appreciate it being older. Nope, I thought it was even worse.

If you thought this book was bad, don't even try "The Perks of Being A Wallflower". I read this in high school after hearing a lot of good things about how much it speaks to blahblahwhateverhighschooldemographic and the protagonist in that book makes Holden look like genius in comparison.
 
2012-11-03 08:48:29 PM
Subby sounds racist.
 
2012-11-03 08:50:43 PM

xpennyroyaltyx: Macbeth/Othello/The Theban Plays
The Stone Angel
Huckleberry Finn
The Fellowship of the Ring
Away
A Separate Peace
Catcher in the Rye
In the Hands of the Living God
Dracula
Schindler's List
Baltimore's Mansion

My students have to read at least five from this list in order to write their Public Exam at the end of the school year. What would you choose?

/CITR apologist


How about an entirely different list altogether? (I'll keepharkleberry Finn)...the other nine:

- 1984
- A Handmaids Tale
- Fahrenheit 451
- A Confederacy of Dunces
- The Stand
- Everybody Poops - HA! OK, ok, ok...waitwaitwait...*phhhpphpttttt* HAHAHAH! OKokokok, waitwaitwait...The Road
- Slaughterhouse Five
- Plato's Republic
- Five Lectures by Sigmund Freud

Because I'm such an expert not an expert - not even close.
 
2012-11-03 09:01:08 PM

DaCaptain19: xpennyroyaltyx: Macbeth/Othello/The Theban Plays
The Stone Angel
Huckleberry Finn
The Fellowship of the Ring
Away
A Separate Peace
Catcher in the Rye
In the Hands of the Living God
Dracula
Schindler's List
Baltimore's Mansion

My students have to read at least five from this list in order to write their Public Exam at the end of the school year. What would you choose?

/CITR apologist

How about an entirely different list altogether? (I'll keepharkleberry Finn)...the other nine:

- 1984
- A Handmaids Tale
- Fahrenheit 451
- A Confederacy of Dunces
- The Stand
- Everybody Poops - HA! OK, ok, ok...waitwaitwait...*phhhpphpttttt* HAHAHAH! OKokokok, waitwaitwait...The Road
- Slaughterhouse Five
- Plato's Republic
- Five Lectures by Sigmund Freud

Because I'm such an expert not an expert - not even close.


Get rid of The Stand, and replace Five Lectures with The Future of an Illusion and that would make for a pretty engaging reading list.

/It might also make sense to arrange reading lists around a theme, instead of being disparate collections of classic works
 
2012-11-03 09:12:51 PM
Threads biatching about CITR are more tired than the book itself.
 
2012-11-03 09:28:57 PM

DigitalCoffee: The only people that really like TCITR are the author/publisher (who get money for the copies), the schools/teachers (that can get discounted copies), and parents (because they had to put up with that boring shiat and they'll be damned if their sprog will get out of doing the same). No one else gives a rats ass about those books (unless they can get money/votes/good press for saying that they like them).


These books need to go:
- The Catcher In The Rye
- Tess Of The D'urbervilles
- The Grapes of Wrath

Replace them with:
- Stranger In A Strange Land
- IT
- Ender's Game

IT

? You're proposing for school reading a book which includes, among other things, a pre-teen gangbang scene? I'm sure that'll fly with the think-of-the-children brigade.
 
2012-11-03 09:30:16 PM
Catcher in the Rye is a great book. Problem is it's got tons of baggage from its reputation. Just enjoy it in a vacuum, forget the rhetoric.

Not to mention Franny and Zoey and the great short story collections Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters and the great Nine Stories.

I've also got a short story collection of Hemingway that's about three inches thick. That sick fark knew how to write right.

And then there's Bukowski...
 
2012-11-03 09:39:59 PM
I myself just finished A Confederacy of Dunces, which was excellent, and have since moved on to David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. Figured that would be a nice transition into my usual winter reading, which is usually 19th century and/or intimidatingly dense. But it's not quite cold enough yet for Dostoyevsky.

Or Gabriel García Márquez for that matter - I have tried to slog through One Hundred Years of Solitude on probably six or seven different attempts, and I just can't manage it.
 
2012-11-03 09:43:34 PM

Robo Beat: DigitalCoffee: The only people that really like TCITR are the author/publisher (who get money for the copies), the schools/teachers (that can get discounted copies), and parents (because they had to put up with that boring shiat and they'll be damned if their sprog will get out of doing the same). No one else gives a rats ass about those books (unless they can get money/votes/good press for saying that they like them).


These books need to go:
- The Catcher In The Rye
- Tess Of The D'urbervilles
- The Grapes of Wrath

Replace them with:
- Stranger In A Strange Land
- IT
- Ender's Game

IT? You're proposing for school reading a book which includes, among other things, a pre-teen gangbang scene? I'm sure that'll fly with the think-of-the-children brigade.


Well, the think-of-the-children brigade can come on down here, too. They'll float just as well as everyone else.

/we all float down here
//only some will float on their over-inflated, self-important, egos
 
2012-11-03 09:47:02 PM
upload.wikimedia.org

Seriously, though...Catcher in the Rye sucked balls.
 
2012-11-03 09:47:17 PM

Khazar-Khum: We already had a coming of age book. It's called "The Sorrows of Young Werther".


Written by that phony Gerta.
 
2012-11-03 10:35:43 PM

r1chard3: Read it in high school, hated every minute of it, couldn't tell you a thing about, liked Hamlet better, a girl once told me I WAS Holden Caulfield.

/ Jude the Obscure sounds interesting tho.


Jude the Obscure=Saddest.Book.Evar.
 
2012-11-03 10:56:19 PM
Like Holden Caulfield I tell myself there's got to be a better way
Then I lie in bed, and stare at the ceiling
And dream of brighter days
 
2012-11-03 10:57:17 PM
When I read the title of this thread I decided I was going to come in here and just post: Black Swan Green, FTW. Then I decided to read the article first and see what book they were talking about...

Boy would that have looked stupid...

It really is THAT good... (Not that I think Catcher was.)
 
2012-11-03 10:58:48 PM
We read "A Seperate Peace" as a coming of age novel in school. It was kind of disturbing, because of all the talk of the draft (was it WW2 or Vietnam? I forget.), and the murder, and the private school that seemed to focus on getting ready for the army.

I thought the teacher was trying to send us a message. Most of my class ended up committing atrocities in Iraq, so I guess the message stuck.

//No, that's not some anti-war statement. I mean they took pictures of themselves playing with dead bodies and shared them with others.
///farking fark.
 
2012-11-03 11:04:51 PM
Does anyone read "To Kill a Mockingbird" in school anymore? That might have been one of the only non-Shakespeare readings I enjoyed in high school.

Henry IV Part 1
Henry V
MacBeth
To Kill A Mockingbird
Heart of Darkness
Great Gatsby
Stone Angel

I read "The Kontiki Expedition" in grade 9 which was pretty cool as well.

/ I don't remember much else (I'm sure there was more), but I have 25 reasons for that (each of them 12 months long).
 
2012-11-03 11:21:31 PM

ModernLuddite: We read "A Seperate Peace" as a coming of age novel in school. It was kind of disturbing, because of all the talk of the draft (was it WW2 or Vietnam? I forget.), and the murder, and the private school that seemed to focus on getting ready for the army.

I thought the teacher was trying to send us a message. Most of my class ended up committing atrocities in Iraq, so I guess the message stuck.

//No, that's not some anti-war statement. I mean they took pictures of themselves playing with dead bodies and shared them with others.
///farking fark.


I'm going to have to ask you to put up some proof of this (other than your own say so), and barring that take back your vicious slander against a group of people far better than yourself.
 
2012-11-03 11:24:12 PM
When I was the age to read Catcher In The Rye I read Portnoy's Complaint instead. Which is why I post on Fark.
 
2012-11-04 12:25:19 AM
Thankfully, I dodged that bullet. Instead, I had to read:

1.bp.blogspot.com

Fuk that book! Damn thing should have been renamed "200 Pages of Boring as Hell Fishing". That's ALL THE GODDAMN BOOK WAS ABOUT!

And fuk everything Hemingway ever wrote. Asshole should have shot himself sooner before writing that crap and having some English teacher force me to read one of his books.

/on the plus side, I really enjoyed Bradbury's F451 and Something Wicked
 
2012-11-04 12:26:37 AM
Portnoy's Complaint was good!
 
2012-11-04 12:37:05 AM
I just read The Old Man and the Sea at the age of 47. I tried to read The Sun Also Rises in my 20s. I just don't like Hemingway.

I guess I am missing it. Everyone else loves him. I find him boring. I find his characters boring. I don't like his shallow stabby short sentences.

I liked:

A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man (one of my all time fav's)
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Chosen
Of Mice and Men
Tom Sawyer
Huckleberry Finn

CITR was okay and I liked parts - but it felt incredibly dated, like 1950s New York.
Great Expectations blew. A Tale of Two Cities would have been so much better.
And Tess, my least favorite book of all time.

We also read some book where these kids in the late 1960s - a lot of talk about how scenes from the Vietnam War was being broadcast right into peoples living rooms - and the kids steal a truck and crash it at the end. In 1980, this was very dated. I had never seen a television report about Vietnam that I could remember. This was before Youtube.
 
2012-11-04 01:05:36 AM

xpennyroyaltyx: Macbeth/Othello/The Theban Plays
The Stone Angel
Huckleberry Finn
The Fellowship of the Ring
Away
A Separate Peace
Catcher in the Rye
In the Hands of the Living God
Dracula
Schindler's List
Baltimore's Mansion

My students have to read at least five from this list in order to write their Public Exam at the end of the school year. What would you choose?

/CITR apologist


Add Small Gods.
 
2012-11-04 01:16:19 AM

aegean: just read The Old Man and the Sea at the age of 47. I tried to read The Sun Also Rises in my 20s. I just don't like Hemingway.

I guess I am missing it. Everyone else loves him. I find him boring. I find his characters boring. I don't like his shallow stabby short sentences.


I tried to get into Hemingway during graduate school, and I just found him full of shiat. It's odd since he's linked to formalism (a genre that thinks that writing isn't affected by the time it's written) yet most of his writing is completely nonsensical when taken out of the context of World War I. I remember trying to figure out what 'Big Two-Hearted River' was about and had to be told it was about the War because 'it mentioned everything BUT the war.' Sorry, if you're reading between the lines that much, we're not even into literature but farking mind-reading.

That said, Catcher in the Rye proves one thing: the Baby Boomers have held the concept of youth for so long that now it's utterly pointless. The world has changed immensely since the days of Holden. The prep school and class issues would have been enough to get around, but putting it fifty years ago (and right after a giant social upheaval) has completely negated everything powerful about the book. Those who find it a sign of childhood are reflecting through their own nostalgia.
 
2012-11-04 01:16:58 AM
I read Catcher in high school when I was about 17. I thought it was a great book. re-read it a few years later. Still great.

Sure he's not the greatest character in the world, but he's probably more 'real' sounding (a socially and mentally troubled youth) than most of the other characters I've read.
 
2012-11-04 02:24:16 AM

xpennyroyaltyx: Macbeth/Othello/The Theban Plays
The Stone Angel
Huckleberry Finn
The Fellowship of the Ring
Away
A Separate Peace
Catcher in the Rye
In the Hands of the Living God
Dracula
Schindler's List
Baltimore's Mansion

My students have to read at least five from this list in order to write their Public Exam at the end of the school year. What would you choose?

/CITR apologist


If you're going to give students a choice like this, you could at least structure it so that the student encounters a variety of stories from different times and places. For instance, have him chose one book from each of the four following groups:

A) Any play by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, or Shakespeare; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; The Song of Roland; Any two Canterbury Tales and the General Prologue.

B) The Vicar of Wakefield (Goldsmith); Emma (Austen); Wuthering Heights (Bronte); Candide (Voltaire); Hard Times (Dickens); The Picture of Dorian Gray (Wilde); Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Carroll); To the Lighthouse (Woolf); Dubliners (Joyce).

C) The Red Badge of Courage (Crane); Huckleberry Finn (Twain); As I Lay Dying (Faulkner); Member of the Wedding (McCullers); The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald); Main Street (Lewis); Native Son (Wright)..

D) The Stranger (Camus); A Clockwork Orange (Burgess); On the Road (Kerouac); Slaughterhouse-Five (Vonnegut); The Crying of Lot 49 (Pynchon); Things Fall Apart (Achebe); Beloved (Morrison).

Plus a fifth book from any of the four groups.

Obviously, I believe that the books students read for school should be more challenging than the books they read for pleasure and that curricula should be structured to give a survey of literary history, not just a random selection of texts, Consequently, I never seriously considered becoming a high school teacher.
 
2012-11-04 02:47:00 AM
phonies just hate mirrors
 
2012-11-04 03:03:24 AM

SockMonkeyHolocaust: I read "Are You There God? It's Me Margaret" and spent years not knowing that women don't wear sanitary belts any more.



That book was the reason I tried out my first tampon at 13. The whole sanitary belt/pad nonsense just sucked balls.
 
2012-11-04 03:10:16 AM

SineSwiper: Thankfully, I dodged that bullet. Instead, I had to read:

[1.bp.blogspot.com image 300x456]

Fuk that book! Damn thing should have been renamed "200 Pages of Boring as Hell Fishing". That's ALL THE GODDAMN BOOK WAS ABOUT!

And fuk everything Hemingway ever wrote. Asshole should have shot himself sooner before writing that crap and having some English teacher force me to read one of his books.

/on the plus side, I really enjoyed Bradbury's F451 and Something Wicked

The Old Man and The Sea

is a great book to help learn a foreign language. Since the sentences are so short and tight, a good translation will map really well to a dictionary for the language of your choice.

And fishing is awesome, so the book is awesome by reflection.
 
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