Friday, September 7, 2012

The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger

I recently read the famous novel The Catcher in The Rye by J. D. Salinger, after seeing it in book stores and reading lists so frequently.

However, I really don't have much to say about this book, which is why it's five days after I finished the book and I still haven't written a post about it yet. This is probably because I don't have much connection with the narrator; we are simply two very different teenagers with different family backgrounds as well as values and concerns. Not to mention that Holden is a teen in the 1950s and lives in New York; even our societies are tremendously different.

The only thing that really struck me was the "phoniness" of the people around Holden, how so many people around him were insincere. This reminded me of our society today, where there are also a lot of people who are insincere and phony— I myself am probably part of this population too! For example a lot of times I would simply smile at what others say regardless of what I think. I would often listen to others talking about their lives (e.g., goals, problems, etc) and just nod and smile— perhaps patronizingly— despite thinking that their problems are trivial or goals unrealistic. I often wish I could act differently, but I just don't know how to do so without being obnoxious or seeming smug.

More importantly, though, I think there is a problem with the way our society functions in that it results in many more phony interactions than in the past. For example, the whole "building connection" affair requires people to put on false smiles when seeing strangers in an attempt to use them later. It's disgusting.

There is actually more that I want to say about sincerity, but I think it would be better suited for another post.

Overall, I thought this novel was interesting and fun to read. And although I didn't connect much with the narrator, the book brought up the theme of sincerity which I found very relevant to myself and the society.