Analysis Of Catcher In The Rye By J. D. Salinger

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Though he wrote more than just "Catcher in the Rye", reclusive author J.D. Salinger never could escape the legacy of a book that still sells 250,000 copies worldwide per year. Published in June 1951, "Rye" gives us a 16-year-old teenager for the ages in Salinger's Holden Caulfield, a character whose observations from a California mental hospital still resonate some seven decades later.

Salinger's novel polarized audiences and has continued to do so all these years since Salinger released the book at age 32. Debates have raged over symbolism and message - it's a war polemic, it has pro-Communist passages, it's vulgar and inappropriate for teenagers to read, it's powerful and insightful with mature themes worth discussing. "Catcher in the Rye"
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After seeing the film, one has to wonder: Did Danny Strong ever read "Catcher in the Rye?" Is he familiar with J.D. Salinger at all?

The answer is likely, and hopefully, yes, but watching Rebel in the Rye, you have to wonder why everything is tidy, neat, and predictable. Salinger's story is strained through the standard biopic filter and very quickly loses any sense of wonder, creativity, or distinctiveness. If one did not know any better, you could watch Rebel in the Rye and think Salinger is just some screenplay creation, a movie about a young man trying to write a book.

This deserves so much more.

Nicholas Hoult is very good playing Salinger, and he has a nice rapport with a scholarly Kevin Spacey, sweatered up as Whit Burnett, a publisher and writing professor at Columbia University, where Salinger became his prized student. We see the two men clash frequently, sharing in a mutual respect and admiration for one another, yet always teetering on the verge of becoming
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Salinger become smitten with Oona (Zoey Deutch), the daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill, who seems to only become interested in J.D., after learning of his being published.

The picture Strong paints for us is a man, somewhat entitled, surly and selfish, but the most talented writer Burnett has ever seen. There are multitudes of places for this film to go: blending in themes found in "Rye" and how they pertained to Salinger's personal life would work. More back story on Salinger's upbringing would help, and the author, tortured, showing us true struggle in coming up with his words and ideas might allow us to connect with him on a personal level.

Instead, Rebel in the Rye mutes the "Rebel" in the title and takes us, expediently, through his arrival at Columbia in 1939, up through a stint in World War II, and his subsequent marriage to a German woman no one knew about until he brought her home to meet his parents. Strong gives us dollops of history here, scenes largely isolated to themselves, with very few connective threads to keep us engaged with each subsequent chapter of Salinger's

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