Our class on March 21st started off with a presentation on the movie Trolls given by Camille. It was a great presentation that really described the movie very well, especially since I have not seen the movie. I felt like, after the movie, I really knew everything about Trolls without having to sit through the movie. The central theme for the movie is finding happiness. The Bergens from the Trolls movie found happiness in eating the trolls, but the trolls were able to show that they can find happiness within themselves. Our professor tied this into the topic of discussion for the day: our readings from Catcher in the Rye.
We discussed, as a class, J.D. Salinger’s intention for the The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is a representation of J.D. Salinger. We see that Holden is very similar to J.D. Salinger, and that, while the book is not an autobiography per se, Salinger pours his life out through Holden.
Before going into the discussions for the day, we split up into groups of two and were given a list of discussion questions, broken down by chapter, and sought to answer them in our groups so that we can discuss with the class. One of my group’s questions was in direct reference to his confusion about sex and sexuality, which was discussed later on in class.
We broke down Holden’s characteristics into a small list of items that encompassed all of Holden which we have read so far. These include loneliness, his obsession with death, his desperate pursuit of preserving his innocence, confusion about sex and sexuality, depression, and his inability to trust others.
We discussed Holden’s loneliness as seen throughout the readings. At first, we noticed that Holden has been lonely since the death of his brother, Allie. His sister Phoebe is away from him, at home, and his other brother D.B. is in Hollywood, which leaves Holden alone. He struggles with this as he is continually thinking about Phoebe and Allie, and also alienates himself from his group of peers as he leaves school.
Holden’s obsession with death can be seen through his continual thought of his deceased brother, Allie. He constantly lives with them and reminisces of times when he had Allie by his side. The thought of Allie often helps Holden, but sometimes it leads him into a depression.
We also discussed about depression in Holden’s life. We discussed that Holden believes that he drew the short end of the stick in life. He knows his situation, yet lacks the motivation to fix or come out of that situation. The physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral aspects of his depression tend to keep Holden down.
His confusion with sex and sexuality is especially interesting. For the discussion questions related to chapter 9, we had questions that related to Holden’s issues with sex and sexuality. The first one related to him noticing the “screwballs” outside his window: one man dressing as a woman, and a couple spitting a drink into each others’ mouths. This made Holden feel a bit aroused, shockingly, and he goes to call a girl that he does not have much knowledge about. He has the idea to call a few girls that run through his mind that he has some sort of relationship with, but insists on calling the stranger. My group discussed how this was indicative of his confusion with sex and sexuality.
Holden also has a desperate pursuit of preserving innocence, although he is unable to do so throughout the story. We discussed how Holden sort of forced himself into the world of adulthood by alienating himself from his peers and into the unknown, where he really cannot afford to be innocent. He sees the innocence in his sister Phoebe, but falls into a bit of a depression as she is the embodiment of innocence to him, but he cannot attain to it.
We ended class with discussing our In Class Puppet Theater presentations. Our professor told us that we should have our presentations ready for the end of April. My group is doing our presentation on Cinderella, so look out for it 🙂