Stephanie Solanki, 11/26/12

On Monday’s class, we discussed the book we had to read called Catcher in the Rye. I had read this book as a freshman in high school and was not impressed at all. I think that I was not mature enough to understand the major concepts and appreciate Holden’s perspective just yet. I am so glad that I had to chance to revisit this book. Reading it as a freshman in college is a very different experience from reading it as a freshman in high school.

My favorite part of the book is about the museum. When Holden goes to the Museum of Natural History, he thinks about how everything inside stays the same. This is what he loves about museums; he feels like he can have faith that everything inside will be there forever. It something that he counts on. The outside world may change, and he may change, but the museum will always stay the same. I think this is a major part of the book. Holden has a hard time dealing with the changes that occur in his life. He hates when children grow up and he hates that he has to deal with growing up as well. He wishes that everything would stay frozen in time like it does in the museum.

I really like that this book is told from Holden’s perspective. Was Mr. Antolini really flirting with Holden, or was he just being paranoid? The reader must decide for his or herself because the narrator is an unreliable source. This quality makes the book very unique, and adds an incredible amount of depth to everything that happens. Did it simply happen the way it did, or was Holden adding his own opinion and flavor?

I am enjoying the assignment that I am writing. Creative writing assignments are always the most fun because I can use my imagination and make the assignment my own.

11/26/12 – Christian Siason

During class on Monday, we began to discuss Catcher in the Rye. I had never read the book in high school, though I’d heard it was a great book, and was excited to finally get to do so. Fortunately, it didn’t disappoint. It certainly lived up to its reputation of being a quality coming-of-age story.

The word “archetype” was brought up in class. Archetypes are like categories of characters that are commonly seen throughout literature, like the dumb blonde or the nerdy kid. However, Holden Caulfield, the main character of Catcher in the Rye, didn’t fit into any archetypes at the time of the book’s publication. J.D. Salinger effectively created a new archetype – the antihero. Holden was the book’s protagonist, but he wasn’t exactly a hero. He dropped out of schools left and right, stayed up late drinking and going to nightclubs while trying to act more mature than his age, and making himself look stupid at times. And yet his goal was to be “the catcher in the rye.” He wanted to stop children from losing their innocence. He did things that sometimes made him hard to root for, but at the same time it was also hard to root against him.

I think that this type of character is very interesting. One antihero that I can think of off the top of my head is Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series. He constantly antagonizes Harry throughout the series, but then we find out at the end that he had been secretly on his side, watching over him, albeit for his own selfish reason – he had been in love with Harry’s mother – rather than out of love for Harry. The fact that he loved Harry’s mother throughout the years made it so hard for many fans to hate him, even after all the abuse he put Harry through.

Before it was brought up in class, I’d seen antiheroes in literature before, but didn’t necessarily know what to classify them as. Now that I know the actual term for this archetype, I’m going to want to keep an eye out for more as I read more books in the future, because I really do like these antiheroes. They aren’t a straightforward fan favorite, and yet when it comes down to it, it’s really hard to root against them.


On Monday, we began our class with a discussion of Manhattan and then later “Catcher in the Rye”. We discussed the music in the film. The music wasn’t played much, but when it was, it represented certain milestones. In the beginning, the song “Rhapsody in Blue” was used, and it showed the typical fast life of New York. Another instance where the music was played, was when Isaac and his son spent a day together.

The next half of the class was a discussion about “Catcher in the Rye”. This was my first time reading the book, and I think it was an interesting read. However, I really didn’t see the symbolism as much until I began to discuss it with my friends. I started to see why certain objects held such an importance to Holden.   For example, I had no idea that Holden’s red hunting hat was a symbol of his alienation. After carefully rereading certain pages with this idea in mind, I started to see how this was possible. It protected him, and made him feel unique. The hat is also a symbol of Holden’s attachment to childhood—it’s the kind of goofy accessory that a proper adult wouldn’t wear. I was also fascinated to learn that Holden’s fixation on the ducks is also a symbol of his struggle with change and growing up. He wants things to stay the same, but the ducks prove that one must adapt to the environment, that one has to change in order to survive. At the same time, the duck’s offer hope: though they disappear each winter, they always reappear.

Overall, i thought that this discussion was very different from what I had in high school, and I look forward to hearing everyone’s modern day version of the book.

~ The Catcher in the Rye~11/26/12~

On Monday in class we reviewed The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.  I read this book in Freshman year of High School and I wasn’t impressed.  At that time in my life I don’t feel that I was emotionally mature enough to fully understand the message of the novel.  Four years later I was excited to revisit this novel and examine it through my eighteen year old perspective.  After rereading this book, I can officially say that The Catcher in the Rye is one of my favorite novels.  Even though my life isn’t remotely close to Holden’s, with the exception of us both living in New York, I can relate to his questions and fears about life.  When I first read The Catcher in the Rye I was fourteen years old, and in many ways I was still a child, oblivious to the suffering around me.  Now I am eighteen years old and recently I’ve been yearning for my childhood blissful ignorance.  All of a sudden I find myself in Holden’s shoes, feeling like, I’m “…disappearing every time [I cross] a road.” (Chapter 1 page 5).

It may be because I’ve been conditioned to analyze everything, particularly pieces of literature, but I had a really fun time finding all of the extended metaphors, and symbolic messages hidden throughout the novel, which I had missed when I first read it.  My favorite metaphor that I found was about the streets.  Throughout the entire book Holden keeps talking about streets and milestones and growing up.  The street, is symbolic of his entrance to adulthood.  Every time he crosses a “road” he loses some of his childhood innocence, and that scares him more than anything. When he talks about the Museum of Natural History he says that, “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right were it was. Nobody’d move….Nobody’d be different.  The only thing that would be different would be you.” (Chapter 16 Page 121).  The road image returns sporadically  throughout the novel, but become very prominent in the final chapters of the novel.  This is evident when Holden says, “Then I started doing something else. Every time I’d get to the end of a block I’d make believe I was talking to my brother Allie.  I’d say to him, “Allie, don’t let me disappear…Please, Allie.” And then when I ‘d reach the other side of the street without disappearing, I’d thank him. Then it would start all over again as soon as I got to the next corner.” (Chapter 25 Page 198). Holden is afraid to grow up, he’s afraid to become an adult, to know too much, to lose all of his innocence.  Beyond all of these fears, Holden is most afraid that he has already passed the point of no return, and that he has lost all of his innocence.

Another part of this book which really resonated with me this time was Holden’s relationship with Phoebe. The name Phoebe, comes from the Greek name Phoibe which means “bright and pure”, and that is exactly what she represents for Holden.  Everything in his life is dark and ominous, his outlook on life has become very jaded and depressing, but Phoebe looks at life in a pure way.  I think that it is beautiful that, it is the innocent character, the pure one, who helps Holden finally cross the street at the end of the novel.  Phoebe is fearless, “…she ran right the hell across the street, without even looking to see if there were any cars coming.” (Chapter 25 Page 208), and the interesting thing about this, is that even after Phoebe fearlessly runs across the street, Holden still holds back.  He stays on his side of the street and the two of them walk in parallel paths on opposite sides of the street.  Finally though he crosses the street with her when they are leaving the zoo, and he accepts the reality of life and time and growing up while watching Phoebe ride the carousel.  The most heart wrenching line of book for me was when Phoebe gets off of the carousel, kisses Holden and then says, “It’s raining.  It’s starting to rain.” and Holden responds, “I know.”  He accepts it, and for the first time in the novel, he’s truly happy.

So even though I’m no Holden Caulfield, I can relate to his journey…but I may still need some help welcoming the rain.


11/26/12 – Swathi Satty

This Monday, we started discussing Catcher in the Rye which I have read as a freshman in High school. I always loved this book because of the many character flaws Holden had himself. And it was interesting to be able to compare my own analysis of Holden against is own thoughts which were very broadly shown within the novel.

We talked about the common slang of the 1950s and I noticed that the slang has drastically changed but hints of it still remained in today’s society. I like the fact that J.D Salinger made the book relatable even if the character’s thoughts might not be. I could clearly tell that this was intended for anyone to read because of the common slang terminology. I found it interesting that for a brief time, this book was actually banned for being read in schools because of its explicit sexual, profane and violent nature. But I’m glad it made it’s return because the character has so much depth that allows the readers to be easily fascinated. I’m looking forward to make my own version of a brief portion of the book because that helps us understand it even more.

We also briefly looked at Manhattan again. I realized just how a big a role music played in this film. Some of it created the fast paced lifestyle of New York which other pieces were romantic which was shown with the use of Rhapsody Blues in the very beginning of the song. This movie was perfect to our study of the arts of New York.



Today, we started talking about the Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I really enjoyed this novel. I find it surprising that Salinger was able to get this novel published in the early 1950s when things like sex were considered taboo. According to the American Library Association, the Catcher in the Rye is the second most challenged book, behind the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The novel has been banned and challenged from 1960 with the most recent case in 2009 for it’s profanity, sexual content, violence, and “moral issues”. I think children face much more profanity, sexual content, violence, and “moral issues” on television, the Internet, in music on the radio, and when playing video games.

In class, we discussed some of the slang and terminology used in the novel. I found it very interesting to see how people would talk back then, especially since movies during that time tried their best to make everything family friendly which this novel is definitely not. I think this novel is important because it shows people that not everyone was as proper or “square” in the fifties as we sometimes generalize in the present.

It also got my thinking about the changes in slang words even in the past five years. Five years ago, my friends and I would go around saying something was “phat” which meant it was cool. Nowadays, nobody says “phat”. A fairly recent slang word that arose in the past year is “tight”. If someone’s annoyed or angry, you can say that they’re “tight”.

– Amber G.

Monday 11/26

In Monday’s seminar class, we began to speak about Catcher in the Rye. When I first read this in High School, it immediately became one of my favorite books. In class, we spoke about archetypes, which are basically stock characters. Everyone knows these basic characters that are in almost every show: the dumb blonde, the bully, and the righteous hero. After being exposed to these characters for what seems like endlessly, they start to lose their appeal to us. There’s only so many times a dumb blonde type in a TV show will make us really laugh before we get sick of the same type of humor. However, Salinger challenged these stereotypical characters by presenting us with Holden.

Holden is an anti archetype. He is definitely not the normal perfect hero. A hero would usually be on a quest throughout the novel to be a better person and to do good deeds. However, Holden does not start out doing good deeds; he hires a prostitute and punches a kid in the face. He is his own type of character, not a type that has been repeated for centuries. When he speaks to his sister, he says that his dream was to be the “catcher in the rye,” saving kids from being corrupted. He is sort’ve a neo-tragic hero, with a personality far different from the stock characters we are all so used to.

Corinna – 11-26-12

This Monday we briefly addressed some of the aspects of mise-en-scene in regards to the movie Manhattan.  First, we discussed the use of music in the film. Due to the struggle I had when writing about it in my blog a few days before, I was eager to go over it in class.  Just as I had thought, there really weren’t that many scenes in the film with music.  Besides the reassurance I received from realizing I had remembered correctly, I also acquired a better understanding of the importance/role of the music in the movie.  For example, some of the music, including “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, helped add to the romantic feel/style of this film.  The music, the idea of chasing your dreams, as well as scenes like the one in the planetarium where Mary and Issac are together in the dark, all make the film romantic I believe that the romantic style of this movie is actually the reason I enjoyed the movie as much as I did.

For the second half of class, we had a discussion on the book Catcher in the Rye.  What I really liked about this discussion was that it wasn’t just a bunch of question being asked in order to figure out who read the book and who didn’t.  I really never liked it when teachers did that in the past.  Our discussion was different in that to answer the questions, we did have to know the events and details of the book, but we also needed to get creative and think like characters’ and author’s would in certain situations.  I enjoyed assigning characters to archetypes, and also thinking about things such as what a kid like Holden would do on a regular day, or how things would be said with present day ling


I really enjoyed our discussion about “The Catcher in the Rye” today. We took time to analyze Holden’s character and the setting of the novel. We discussed Holden’s character and the language that he uses because of the time period. We focused on the word “phony” which was used differently than its literal meaning. It is going to be a real challenge to come up with a word that is used the same way. The only word that we used in class was “Fake,” which is a word that is used very often today in conversations. I am looking forward to doing this assignment because it will be like I am writing my own edition of the book. This will be a fun experience for me because I don’t think I am likely to be writing a book in my lifetime, but I will have a taste of it.

What really interested me about today’s class was the discussion about archetypes. I had no idea what archetypes were before this class and now that I know about them I am going to be looking at movies and novels a lot more closely. I was very surprised when Professor Kahan told us that the original Star Wars, some my favorite movies, were based on the first archetype, the story of Jesus.  I don’t think that I would have ever made this connection. Off the top of my head I can think of a few movies that are based on the story of Jesus like The Lion King and The Matrix. 


During Monday’s seminar class, we began discussing the soundtrack of Woody Allen’s Manhattan.  Although there was not a lot of music present in the movie, the George Gershwin music that Allen used was very meaningful.  Allen was writing a tribute to NYC, and so it makes sense that he would open his movie with the smooth, relaxing Rhapsody in Blue.  The music that Allen chose was picked specifically in order to to arouse certain feelings and emotions; the movie’s musical score really influences our perception of the movie.  For example, the ominous Jaws theme song achieves a feeling of alarm and pulsating terror.  The vibrant theme song in Pirates of the Caribbean creates a triumphant and victorious feeling.  So in Manhattan, the movie also arouses nostalgic feelings in the audience.  The music itself seems to show how big, diverse and romantic New York City is.

We also spoke about the archetypes present in Catcher in the Rye.  Ackley was a nerd and Spencer was the archetype of the wise old man.  There is also a situational kind of archetype in this book.  Holden Caulfield seems to be the same type of character as Huckleberry Finn.  Both are adolescents who go out on their own and encounter situations and problems while on their way to maturity and adulthood.