Friday, June 27, 2008

Things you didn't know about J.D. Salinger

Okay seriously I can't not share this. This semester in my American literature class we read Catcher in the Rye. The final exam question was this: Is Holden Cauffield a hero in any sense of the word? I got some really great essays because I told them they could use any definition of hero they chose as long as they explained themselves.

This one kid said that a hero is someone who finishes what they start and gets what they want. Holden is not a hero because - get this - he wanted to have sex but he stopped and didn't screw the prostitute. If he'd been a hero he would have fucked her.

Wait - that's just the prologue. I actually graded the finals early, then went back and finished grading some classwork assignments I'd never gotten around to reading. So here is that same boy's letter to J.D. Salinger. If you read my blog, J.D., this ought to bring you out of hiding.


Dear J.D. Salinger,

I have a few questions to ask you about this book. Why did you decide to write this book/story? Was it about you and your experiences throughout life? Do you think you're a phony yourself? In the story, it clearly shows that you are a phony yourself but don't realize it. Also the character Holden fantasizes about sex and the things he would want to do to your sex partner but end up chickening out. For even the dumbest reasons ever - because they're phonies, you get nervous, they're not the right one, or just don't even want to do it..... Like come on dude get over it. You had so many chances and you blew it man. If you blew so many chances I might think you're gay. Another thing - why are you hiding? Is it because you're ashamed of what you are.....Huh. In the story when you talk about the carousel and you see your sister riding it what did you see and do you know what really made you happy. When you come out from hiding you're going to become more famous than any writer in the world.

Your book reader

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the awesomest letter I've ever graded.


  1. Anonymous6:26 PM

    Off topic, Em, go see Wanted. Now.

  2. I'm going to get crucified for this... I always do, but:

    I hate that book. So much. Well, it's not so much the book as the protagonist. Normally I don't pray for a character to die unless I'm in a horror movie and they're acting like a retard.

    I think it's because I couldn't identify with the protagonist at all. If you can't identify with the protag or even get your emotions on the same sort of track, you can't like the story. At least I can't.


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