Holden Caulfield lives on
By Jay Blaine
In the wake of J.D. Salinger’s death at 91 on Jan. 27, students and faculty reflected on the author and his seminal work “The Catcher in the Rye”.
Told from the first person perspective of Holden Caulfield, “The Catcher in the Rye” is about an angst-ridden, 16-year-old student expelled from prep school, who decides to strike out on his own for a weekend of misadventures in New York City.
“Even though it was written a long time ago, it still resonates today. Especially since, at the time I read it, I was attending a private school,” City College student Evan Jones said.
Salinger, almost as well known for his reclusive behavior as his breakout success, published his last original work in 1965. Even though Salinger shunned fame and the publishing industry, according to close friends he continued to write throughout his life.
City College English Professor Jacquelynn Davis-Martin recalled something a high school English student said to her: “’I am not rich or white or from the east coast. I am poor, black and from California. But I am Holden Caulfield.’ At that moment of hearing him, I realized I am Holden Caulfield too. That’s the book’s genius,” she said. (206)