‘The Catcher in the Rye’ now explained in ‘Freedom’

Read Jeremy Griffith’s new additions in Freedom: Expanded Book 1 about Resignationthe time in our teenage years when we resign ourselves to the false/ superficial/ fake/ empty world of adulthood. From Part 3:8 of Freedom: Expanded Book 1:



“Yes, having to resign and live in a state of extreme dishonesty was immensely heroic, but thank goodness Resignation no longer has to occur. That classic of American literature, J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, is all about a 16-year-old boy struggling against having to resign. The boy, Holden Caulfield, felt ‘surrounded by phonies’ (p.12 of 192), in a world ‘full of phonies’ (pp.118 & 151) and ‘morons’ who ‘never want to discuss anything’ (p.39), of living on the ‘opposite sides of the pole’ (p.13) to most people, and in a situation where he absolutely ‘hate[d]’ ‘school’ (p.117), a time when he ‘just didn’t like anything that was happening’ (p.152), to wanting to escape to ‘somewhere with a brook…[where] I could chop all our own wood in the winter time and all’ (p.119). The 16-year-old knows he is supposed to resignhe talks about being told that ‘Life being a game…you should play it according to the rules’ (p.7), to feeling ‘so damn lonesome’ (pp.42 & 134) and ‘depressed’ (multiple references) he even felt like ‘committing suicide’ (p.94). As a result of all this disenchantment with the world he keeps ‘failing’ (p.9) all his subjects at school and as a result had to leave four schools for ‘making absolutely no effort at all’ (p.167). He says about his behaviour, ‘I swear to God I’m a madman’ (p.121) and ‘I know. I’m very hard to talk to’ (p.168). Finally he finds some empathy from an adult who says ‘This fall I think you’re riding for–it’s a special kind of fall, a horrible kind…[where you] just keep falling and falling [utter depression] (p.169). The adult then spoke of men who ‘at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with…So they gave up looking [resigned][adding] you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior’ (pp.169-170). Summarising the horror of having to resign the 16-year-old says: ‘I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around–nobody big, I mean–except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff–I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be’ (p.156). Yes, finally the reconciling understanding of the human condition has arrived that provides ‘the catcher in the rye’, the means to ‘catch everybody’ before ‘they start to go over the cliff’ that Holden Caulfield so yearned for! The Catcher in the Rye has rightly been considered a masterpiece, and with understanding of the process of Resignation and how adults have lived in denial of it, it becomes even more impressive, if that were possible! (The Scottish author, J.M. Barrie’s 1902 story of Peter Pan who has a never-ending childhood is also a story of the dream of not having to become a tragic, resigned, effectively dead adult. Yes, it is going to be a world full of Peter Pan’s now, a world of unresigned, soul-alive adults.)”

The Catcher in the Rye

Read more from Part 3:8 of Freedom: Expanded Book 1 about Resignation which is the most important psychological event to occur in human life and yet it has never been explained and only very rarely acknowledged BEFORE NOW!

WTM Admin

This Blog Post was written by WTM Admin on February 20, 2013


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