Holden on

September 2, 2008

What do you think?

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger’s beloved novel, once banned and full of frank four-letter words, will continue to be assigned to high school reading lists this year.

But Anne Trubek, a professor of English at Oberlin College, argues that it’s time to update Salinger’s coming-of-age tale.

“It was published in 1951 and it’s not so contemporary anymore,” Trubek tells Scott Simon. “I think that most American teenagers will find it rather tame and sort of laughable the things that were once considered so controversial.”

Catcher has become outdated in its sociological particulars, but it’s still one of best books ever at capturing teenage angst and the self-indulgent sense of isolation of those years. I think teens today — however else they’ve changed — still settle on some form of phoniness when they start thinking about what’s most wrong with the world. That’s why teens still get something out of the book, even if parts of it do make them laugh.

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4 Responses to “Holden on”

  1. Bob G. Says:

    Makes me wonder what these people have planned for Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

    B.G.

  2. tim zank Says:

    Oh, they’ll sanitize it too Bob.

  3. gadfly Says:

    “Tom Sawyer” is slated to become a musical. It will be called ‘West Bank Story” with Injun Joe leading the “Wahoos” and Jim leading the “Darkies.” Becky Thatcher and Amy Lawrence will have a cat-fight scene at Aunt Polly’s Whitewash Fence Party while singing “daylight, I must wait for the sunrise, I must think of a new life, and I mustn’t give in …”

    I won’t give away any more. you will have to wait for the film.

  4. tim zank Says:

    Speaking of “sanitizing”….I happened to catch Blazing Saddles the other night for the umpteenth time, and found it pretty humorous that they bleeped out the “N” word everytime, though it’s painfully obvious what they’re saying and it’s pretty much the central theme for the whole movie parody.


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