Thursday, January 28, 2010

RIP J.D. Salinger

On January 27th, 2010, J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye, died a peaceful death at the age of 91 in his home in Cornish, New Hampshire.

Catcher in the Rye is perhaps Salinger's best known work, especially because of the main protagonist Holden Caulfield, a restless adolescent questioning the boundaries of society. The book is read by many high school students, as it is one of the "staples" on every English teacher's list.

I recall reading Catcher in sophomore year, and how I thought the way Holden talked sounded so strange at first. Then I got sucked into his world, and really understood his insecurities. This one of the enjoyable mandatory reads in school, and I'm glad I had the privilege to read this jem in American literature. I think many teens can relate to Holden's imagination-- how he dreams to triumph and redeem himself when in reality he does not committ to what he pictured in his mind. In essence, Salinger articulated the adolescent qualities very well.

Salinger was born to a Scott-Irish Jewish family in Manhattan on January 1st, 1919, to a J.D. As a young man, he attended writing classes at Columbia University and yearned for the fame that he was later so famously averse towards. He served as a soldier in World War II, and was said to express his post-war anxieties through his writing. After publishing Catcher in 1951, Salinger moved to New Hampshire in 1953 and stayed there for the rest of his isolated and peaceful life. Salinger is also the author of Franny and Zooey, and Nine Stories.

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