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Holden Caulfield = whiny loser?

By Jessica Schneider Jun 23, 2009, 14:44 GMT

Holden Caulfield = whiny loser?

Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America\'s literary treasures.Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his ...more

It’s hard to imagine one of the most famous characters of the 20th Century going out of date, but a NYT article is raising some eyebrows.

One of the points the article makes is: “Teachers say young readers just don’t like Holden as much as they used to. What once seemed like courageous truth-telling now strikes many of them as ‘weird,’ ‘whiny’ and ‘immature.’”

Some feel the language is dated, and others seem to think he’s just a rich preppy who needs to get a life.

According to the article: “Young people, with their compulsive text-messaging and hyperactive pop culture metabolism, are more enchanted by wide-eyed, quidditch-playing Harry Potter of Hogwarts than by the smirking manager of Pencey’s fencing team (who was lame enough to lose the team’s equipment on the subway, after all). Today’s pop culture heroes, it seems, are the nerds who conquer the world — like Harry — not the beautiful losers who reject it.”

And others agree that the universal themes in the book are timeless.

If you’d like to know more, read the NYT article here.

 



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