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Projet de littérature en cours d’anglais: «The Catcher in the Rye»

Projet de littérature en cours d’anglais: «The Catcher in the Rye»

First-edition cover of The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by the American author J. D. Salinger. (Public Domain, Wikipedia)
First-edition cover of The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by the American author J. D. Salinger. (Public Domain, Wikipedia)

Une partie des élèves de 1ère S qui suivent les cours facultatifs d’anglais de Mme Reysset ont lu le grand classique américain The Catcher in the Rye (L’attrape-cœur, en version française, ou Der Fänger im Roggen pour la version allemande).
Ils en ont eu une approche libre et personnelle, à partir de laquelle certains ont rédigé quelques paragraphes:

Jerome David Salinger

Jerome David Salinger (J. D. Salinger – 1919-2010) was an American author, best known for his novel The Catcher in the Rye. He is recognized by critics and readers as one of the most popular authors of American fiction during the second half of the twentieth century. While Salinger’s characters have been analyzed and discussed, the author himself is still a mystery. Since the publication of The Catcher in the Rye, he avoided all contact with the public. At the end of his life, Salinger lived isolated in New Hampshire, writing for his own pleasure.

Laurie Bach

The main character – Holden Caulfield

Holden is an American teenager who is not too serious about school. At the beginning of the novel he is expelled from his current school – once again. He is rather thoughtful and depressive. Therefore he cares a lot about children and their innocence although he is indifferent to anything but his siblings, especially his dead brother Allie and his little sister Phoebe. He mostly uses New York youth slang, which shocked the readers at the time.

Holden’s character is full of contrast which is shown in many situations:
– his indifference to anything but his siblings and his wish not to disappoint his parents .
– his wish to protect children from losing their innocence is in contradiction with his opinion that he can’t prevent them from “falling”.

Tobias Schlicker & Marie-Noëlle Köhl

Personal views:

First of all, this book was not what I expected, it really surprised me. I thought it was a very typical teenager story, but I found out it is far more than this. It is actually the exploration of the narrator’s personal thoughts, that’s why I found this book so interesting. It reflects the feeling of an American average teenager in the 1950s. He is not a hero, nor an antihero, and sometimes it feels good to read books about normal persons. Furthermore, Holden Caulfield’s crude humour made me want to read the book until the end.
Nevertheless, I found it uncomfortable to read, notably because of the type of language the narrator uses, slung. I agree that this makes the story sound even more real; however I didn’t really appreciate it. Moreover, the fact that the book mostly deals with Holden’s thoughts makes the reader feel like nothing ever happens, and it sometimes gets boring.
It’s strange to say, but honestly, I can’t tell if I liked the Catcher in the Rye or not. In my view, interesting would be the word to describe it.

Laurie Bach

I have to say that I expected something very different. It is not that I didn’t like the book, in fact I liked it very much, but I thought it would be about something else when I first read the title.
It was nice for once to see the whole story from another poiont of view. Usually you just get told in a book that there is a boy who just got kicked out of school and that’s all. You often don’t know what is going on in that boy’s head and why he behaves the way he does.
It was interesting to see the story from the boy’s point of view, to get to know his feelings and fears. For my part, I could really feel for the main character and I understood why he did some things because I knew the story behind.
So, in the end, I have to say that I really enjoyed reading the book and that I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t want to believe in prejudice anymore but who wants to make their own opinion.

Joanna Reichert

In my opinion, The Catcher in the Rye is an interesting but uncommon book. I really liked the fact that the main character’s thoughts were the centre of the attention. Another point worth mentioning is that Holden showed how cruel and corrupt adulthood can be and how important it is to keep and enjoy childish innocence as long as possible.
On the one hand the language he used was nearly rude and that’s why this book was seen as scandalous. But on the other hand it was great to read Holden’s thoughts so you could really understand what was going on in his mind all the time.
I think that The Catcher in the Rye is an unusual book but definitely worth reading!

Nadia Ninosu

The Catcher in the Rye – Blurb

New York! The biggest and most fascinating city in the world. It never sleeps.
What would you do if you had the chance to go there for three days on your own?
Shopping? Sightseeing? Visiting the Broadway?
But hold on, what if your name was Holden Caulfield, you just got kicked out of school, you think everyone around is phony and that life sucks? What if your parents didn’t know where you are and would probably be very angry if they found out everything? And what if you just didn’t know what to do with your life?
What would you do?
Do you want to know what the thing with the ducks is about and how Holden ended up being beaten up by an elevator boy and his prostitute friend?
Well go ahead and read this “goddam” book if you are not one of the phony guys…

Nadia Ninosu – Joanna Reichert