If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(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  
•       •       •

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»



137 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all
 
2012-11-04 03:34:46 AM

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


Now there is a biatch that needs an ass kicking right there.

Between that and Notes from the Underground, I grew up with the impression that 19th century Europe was the domain of giant walking pussies.
 
2012-11-04 04:48:13 AM

thunderbird8804: 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.


Volunteering to go murder people for money doesn't make someone better than someone who doesn't.
 
2012-11-04 04:57:39 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


Interestingly enough he shot himself partially because of the FBI. He thought the bureau was spying on him and friends had him put through electroshock therapy. He was prescribed medication that may have contributed to a depressive state after his release. A FOIA request made in the 80s revealed they were indeed spying on him. J Edgar Hoover had a 120 page file on Hemingway because of his time spent in Cuba.
 
2012-11-04 06:27:59 AM
Coming of age book I'd like to see on a school book list: Nation (Terry Pratchett). Excellent piece of writing and incredibly heart-wrenching. Or maybe the Tiffany Aching series* because 1) it's fun 2) it's full of magic & fantasy & 3) it doesn't even pretend to try & be a coming of age story. It's just a story about a kid who has to grow up - fast. And that's the best kind of coming of age fic.

*Wee Free Men/Hat Full of Sky/I Shall Wear Midnight

Chrysalids was the coming of age story of choice way back in my highschool years. I enjoyed it & all the other John Wyndam books because they were just as weird & warped as I am.
 
2012-11-04 06:59:48 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


Huck Finn.

My HS freshman English teacher had us read "The Andromeda Strain" by Michael Crichton and "Puppet on a chain" by Alistair MacLean. Not great Lit, but it did get us reading. He also made us read CITR. I liked it.
 
2012-11-04 08:11:08 AM

Dumb-Ass-Monkey: Stephen King's It should be required reading for all 12 year olds.


Every child should know that the only way to avert world-destroying evil is for an abused girl to pull the train with her male friends.
 
2012-11-04 08:16:00 AM
My sophmore honors English class had us read "A Walk to Remember" .....
 
2012-11-04 09:20:49 AM
It's amazing how much you people confuse reading a book for entertainment and reading a book in order to think/write critically about it with the support of research.
 
2012-11-04 09:53:37 AM

mekki: I always thought that Holden was clearly Bipolar. His moods were all over the map. He had poor impulse control. Showed poor judgment. Felt hopeless all the time. And was easily distracted and quick to upset. He even wound up in the hospital in the end. Wondered why teachers and kids alike kept on saying that it spoke to so many teenagers on their level.


Because Holden resembles most teenagers, teenagers are very self-referential, and teachers know this, but want teenagers to read?
 
2012-11-04 10:06:01 AM
Never had to read it, thank God. But I was stuck with one of the most womynist English teachers on earth, who made us read a shiat-ton of books centering on women (Summer, Sula, The Assistant, some Jane Farking Austin crap) and what is still one of the biggest literary jokes of all time in my mind, Ted Hughes' Crow. We all had to choose poems out of it and do our own little presentations about it. I really can't remember ever liking any of my English teachers until college, when I had the guy who treated us like adults.
 
2012-11-04 10:10:21 AM

LiQuid!: Never had to read Catcher for school thank god. Our male teen coming of age story was The Chocolate War, which was great because it taught us that trying to do the right thing will only get you punched in the mouth.

Eventually read Catcher and all the criticisms were correct. Holden is a one-note wimp and an archetypal loser.


An author who fought his way across Nazi-occupied Europe with the 4th Infantry Division can write whatever he wants; what adversity has David Mitchell faced? If I survived the Hurtgen Forest, I might harp on angsty themes myself. And if you think Catcher is depressing, read Salinger's short stories, some based on actual persons and events.
 
2012-11-04 10:14:50 AM
Catcher in the Rye sucked, and the language is outdated.
 
2012-11-04 10:25:17 AM

tafka: Coming of age book I'd like to see on a school book list: Nation (Terry Pratchett). Excellent piece of writing and incredibly heart-wrenching. Or maybe the Tiffany Aching series* because 1) it's fun 2) it's full of magic & fantasy & 3) it doesn't even pretend to try & be a coming of age story. It's just a story about a kid who has to grow up - fast. And that's the best kind of coming of age fic.

*Wee Free Men/Hat Full of Sky/Wintersmith/I Shall Wear Midnight

Chrysalids was the coming of age story of choice way back in my highschool years. I enjoyed it & all the other John Wyndam books because they were just as weird & warped as I am.


Everyone should get a good dose of Pratchett/P.G. Wodehouse/Thurber/Adams just to test them for the existence of a sense of humor. And everyone who aspires to wax poetic in public should be able to quote Shakespeare, the King James Bible, Robert W. Service and filthy limericks with equal aplomb.

FTFY
 
2012-11-04 10:26:37 AM

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


You're proof that classic fiction needs to be compulsory. In these times, a book about mass poverty and class violence has more relevance than one about a clown in a sewer.
 
2012-11-04 10:29:52 AM

Barricaded Gunman: You know who I dismiss as idiots? People who say "South park is funny."


Still butthurt about the cop burning his copy of Atlas Shrugged, Randroid?
 
2012-11-04 10:37:35 AM
i hate that farkin book. switch to Small Gods
 
2012-11-04 10:38:11 AM

tafka: Coming of age book I'd like to see on a school book list: Nation (Terry Pratchett). Excellent piece of writing and incredibly heart-wrenching. Or maybe the Tiffany Aching series* because 1) it's fun 2) it's full of magic & fantasy & 3) it doesn't even pretend to try & be a coming of age story. It's just a story about a kid who has to grow up - fast. And that's the best kind of coming of age fic.

*Wee Free Men/Hat Full of Sky/I Shall Wear Midnight

Chrysalids was the coming of age story of choice way back in my highschool years. I enjoyed it & all the other John Wyndam books because they were just as weird & warped as I am.



tiffany aching FTW!
 
2012-11-04 10:40:17 AM

thunderbird8804: 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.


/former Army
//seen the war porn too, wagon-circler
 
2012-11-04 10:45:06 AM

Guntram Shatterhand: 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.


Because naturally people who go to Groton or Andover never attain positions of prominence these days; all you need is a high test score to make it in America today!
 
2012-11-04 11:10:56 AM
My fav 'old classic' coming-of-age was 'Member of the Wedding' when I was a teen.

Interesting thing was my mom did -not- like the book, and was amazed when I pointed out it was on the list as a literary classic - a list made by a source she trusted. To quote another classic source... 'Doh'!
 
2012-11-04 11:11:08 AM

BolshyGreatYarblocks: thunderbird8804: 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.

/former Army
//seen the war porn too, wagon-circler


Your say so isn't going to be enough either I'm afraid, especially for the charge of atrocity.

/The American military leaves quite a bit to be desired, but I am prepared to defend it against this flippant and fatuous form of anti-Americanism that gets passed around today's rather feeble anti-war movement
//And I've got a few more f-words at my disposal if you would like
 
2012-11-04 11:15:34 AM

FeedTheCollapse: I think their Satire episodes are generally terrible.


I do hope you consider Great Expectations an exception.
 
2012-11-04 11:22:12 AM

BolshyGreatYarblocks: 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

You're proof that classic fiction needs to be compulsory. In these times, a book about mass poverty and class violence has more relevance than one about a clown in a sewer.


Bullshiat is still bullshiat and trying to spray perfume on it doesn't make it smell any better. If these books were really any good then you wouldn't have to force people to read them. Instead of one or two people saying they were 'ok' or just 'meh', you'd have a thread full of people saying how great they were; how enjoyable they were to read and how relevant they were to read. You don't and they weren't.

Reading can be enjoyable, informative, and relevant to purpose without having to be boorish twaddle.
 
2012-11-04 11:40:21 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


I've read the four I've italicized above, so I guess one of the others. Maybe Schindler's List.
 
2012-11-04 11:41:54 AM

SundaesChild: 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

I've read the four I've italicized bolded above, so I guess one of the others. Maybe Schindler's List.


Duh, they were all italicized. I need more sleep and/or some coffee.
 
2012-11-04 11:47:42 AM

ko_kyi: FeedTheCollapse: I think their Satire episodes are generally terrible.

I do hope you consider Great Expectations an exception.


I haven't seen that episode, actually. I was thinking more of the Quints episode. Even though I otherwise think the episode's funny, Good Times With Good Weapons is also an example of South Park's awkward use of satire: it feels like the entire episode is a giant set up for the last minute message of "it is weird that violence is more accepted than nudity', especially when the rest of the episode seems to give no indication that there's supposed to be any further subtext to the plot.


Though it doesn't really go hand-in-hand with satire, I guess, I think South Park is probably a bit too bombastic to properly pull off satire, so it either ends up going way out of its way to make a point (Good Times With Good Weapons) or its message can be summarized as "This is stupid! DERP!" (pretty much any (though mostly newer) episodes centered around Pop Culture icons. i.e. Twilight, Jersey Shore, etc.). I also find that even though it gets praised for taking on very recent subjects due to the show's quick production pace, those episodes tend to be dated very quickly. (i.e. Quints)
 
2012-11-04 11:53:24 AM

DigitalCoffee: Bullshiat is still bullshiat and trying to spray perfume on it doesn't make it smell any better. If these books were really any good then you wouldn't have to force people to read them.


Many books are read for their relevance. I didn't particularly enjoy reading To Kill A Mockingbird or Lord of the Flies but in both cases by the end -- even as a middle-schooler -- I understood why the school made me read it. The Grapes of Wrath falls into this category. School is for learning. We can have a nice long discussion about things schools do badly, including sucking all the life and critical thinking out of children, but it's not supposed to be all fun and games. You can read IT on your own damn time.

Catcher in the Rye, though, strikes me as the sort of book recommended to teenagers only because of the premise. Not that there aren't things to be learned from reading it, but I think it's assigned for all the wrong reasons. Just because I was a whiny self-absorbed teenager doesn't mean I'll take to a book about a whiny self-absorbed teenager. I don't think I have as much to gain and frankly it's a little insulting.

As for SMeyer (as long as subby mentioned to coont), I read a little bit of the Twilight books (excerpts and such) and she's fascinatingly bad. To someone seeking to improve their writing skills, it's almost academically interesting how thoroughly she's a textbook case of how NOT to write. Thankfully you don't need to read more than a few pages to get the point.
 
2012-11-04 11:54:01 AM
Really? The '60s? The book was first published in 1951, and probably a lot more relevant then.
 
2012-11-04 11:57:59 AM

SundaesChild: A Separate Peace


Oy, I'd forgotten all about that one. A forgettable story, forgettable characters, forgettable writing. . . that was one book I finished shaking my head, wondering why the hell I read it. Not that it was bad; it was just unremarkable in every way. Like a well-made plain yogurt.

Now, The Canterbury Tales (unabridged) in Middle English. . . RIP Mr. McCabe; you were too clever by half. Among all the reading assignments I had from kindergarten to high school, that one was pure genius.
 
2012-11-04 01:27:32 PM
thunderbird8804
Your say so isn't going to be enough either I'm afraid, especially for the charge of atrocity.

Well, there was that massive leak of internal Army documentation on this subject that became the biggest news item of the 21st century.

The US Army helicopter pilots murdering the two Reuters journalists and later killing surrendering insurgents were especially hot items.

Your head-in-the-sand method of coping is cute though, so you have that going for you.
 
2012-11-04 01:47:37 PM

MusicMakeMyHeadPound: thunderbird8804
Your say so isn't going to be enough either I'm afraid, especially for the charge of atrocity.

Well, there was that massive leak of internal Army documentation on this subject that became the biggest news item of the 21st century.

The US Army helicopter pilots murdering the two Reuters journalists and later killing surrendering insurgents were especially hot items.

Your head-in-the-sand method of coping is cute though, so you have that going for you.


That's a little closer, but you're going to have to be more specific. There's been a lot of leaked army documentation recently (and none of them that come to mind are "the biggest news items" of any century), which document(s)? Your description of the killing of the Reuters journalists as "murder" is debatable as it hasn't been established whether or not the pilots knew they were firing on members of the press, and as to the surrendering insurgents you'll also have to clarify what or which incidents you mean.

/Evidence is key, anyone who would accept the truth of a serious charge on your word alone is not doing their due dilligence
 
2012-11-04 02:37:54 PM

BolshyGreatYarblocks: In these times, a book about mass poverty and class violence has more relevance than one about a clown in a sewer.


I would say that a clown in a sewer is quite an apt metaphor for today's politics.
 
2012-11-04 03:34:13 PM
Just thought I'd say that I read Black Swan Green recently and thought it was great. I'd have loved it when I was a teenager.

I'd also recommend Red Shift, by Alan Garner, a book about teenagers in the 2nd, 17th, and 20th centuries connected by a hill, an axe, and mental illness. But it was draining as hell to read.
 
2012-11-05 10:23:58 AM

DigitalCoffee: Ender's Game


My daughter's HS will cover Ender's Game next year, so I am getting a kick...
 
2012-11-05 11:17:44 AM
As Howard Stern says, I'm stuck in perpetual adolescence. My favorite quote from the book...my older sister was reading it for a class and I some how found this passage:

"The only good part of his speech was right in the middle of it. He was telling us all about what a swell guy he was, what a hot-shot and all, then all of a sudden this guy sitting in the row in front of me, Edgar Marsalla, laid this terrific fart. It was a very crude thing to do, in chapel and all, but it was also quite amusing. Old Marsalla. He damn near blew the roof off. Hardly anybody laughed out loud, and old Ossenburger made out like he didn't even hear it, but old Thurmer, the headmaster, was sitting right next to him on the rostrum and all, and you could tell he heard it. Boy, was he sore."
 
2012-11-05 12:30:59 PM
BolshyGreatYarblocks: Still butthurt about the cop burning his copy of Atlas Shrugged, Randroid?

WTF?
 
2012-11-05 04:49:23 PM

dragonchild: DigitalCoffee: Bullshiat is still bullshiat and trying to spray perfume on it doesn't make it smell any better. If these books were really any good then you wouldn't have to force people to read them.

Many books are read for their relevance. I didn't particularly enjoy reading To Kill A Mockingbird or Lord of the Flies but in both cases by the end -- even as a middle-schooler -- I understood why the school made me read it. The Grapes of Wrath falls into this category. School is for learning. We can have a nice long discussion about things schools do badly, including sucking all the life and critical thinking out of children, but it's not supposed to be all fun and games. You can read IT on your own damn time.

Catcher in the Rye, though, strikes me as the sort of book recommended to teenagers only because of the premise. Not that there aren't things to be learned from reading it, but I think it's assigned for all the wrong reasons. Just because I was a whiny self-absorbed teenager doesn't mean I'll take to a book about a whiny self-absorbed teenager. I don't think I have as much to gain and frankly it's a little insulting.

As for SMeyer (as long as subby mentioned to coont), I read a little bit of the Twilight books (excerpts and such) and she's fascinatingly bad. To someone seeking to improve their writing skills, it's almost academically interesting how thoroughly she's a textbook case of how NOT to write. Thankfully you don't need to read more than a few pages to get the point.


Agree with you that there is a difference between reading for pleasure and reading for education.

The problem is a lot of the "classics" need to be read from a historical and sociological perspective, which most English curriculum fail miserably at.

I think I would have enjoyed Catcher in the Rye much better if it had been taught in the context of 1950's censorship and optimism and this book flying in the face of that. Teaching it as a "coming of age" story doesn't fit the narrative and Holden just comes off as a whiny rich kid with problems.

For a modern English class I would recommend "Less than Zero" if you can get it under the censor's radar, I think I like it better because the narrator is more of a passive observer.

I'm lucky my High School English teach made us read a bunch of different books along with psychological books like Erich Fromm's "Escape from Freedom".
 
Displayed 37 of 137 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report