Teachers' blog


【Pivotal Texts and Life-Long Reading (Part 3)】

(Contributed by Sylwia)
As a kid, I read mystery novels and paperbacks like The Babysitters Club or the Sweet Valley High series. Even after reading something with more depth, like The Outsiders, I was still reading just for the enjoyment of the story; which is fine, but after reading this passage I started to see all of the literary elements come together and I started to really appreciate the literary craft. I had never truly read a stream-of-consciousness passage like that one – it made Holden Caulfield jump off the page. The Catcher in the Rye is a fairly divisive book – you either love it or hate it. I think the people who hate it do so because they find Holden Caulfield to be annoying. But, all those things he felt and described in the novel are things that I went through at his age, as well. Isolation, confusion, the “phoniness”, the difficulty of growing up and loss of innocence are so perfectly expressed by this novel. I re-read it again not too long ago and I was afraid that I may actually hate Holden Caulfield, as an adult. However, thankfully, that was not the case. I felt that I had become more empathetic to the character and, concurrently, more empathetic to my teenage self. The Catcher in the Rye will always be a pivotal text for me because I will always remember being in the library hypnotized by the initial passage. That moment is where my literary journey and my journey into adulthood converged.

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