Monday, March 12, 2007

the gospel according to Holden Caulfield

Last week I checked out J.D. Salinger's classic book The Catcher in the Rye from the public library. I had never read it before. I'd only heard about it. But for some reason I checked it out and read it. The whole book is written in the first person, and is about a young man named Holden Caulfield who has just been kicked out of yet another expensive prep school. Before his parents find out, he decides to take a weekend and enjoy New York City (where his parents and little sister live). There's quite a bit of cussing in the book, something I didn't really know to expect. However, I enjoyed it and recommend it as a worthwhile read because of the impact its had as a piece of literature and because it gives good insight into mind of young people who are wrestling with aimlessness and depression.

Here's a paragraph that I realy enjoyed where Holden addresses the issues of Jesus, Judas, hell, and ministers.
Finally, though, I got undressed and got in bed. I felt like praying or something, when I was in bed, but I couldn't do it. I can't always pray when I feel like it. In the first place, I'm sort of an atheist. I like Jesus and all, but I don't care too much for most of the other stuff in the Bible. Take the Disciples, for instance. They annoy the hell out of me, If you want to know the truth. They were all right after Jesus was dead and all, but while He was still alive, they were about as much use to Him as a hole in the head. All they did was keep letting Him down. I like almost anybody in the Bible better that the Disciples. If you want to know the truth, the guy I like the best in the Bible, next to Jesus, was the lunatic and all, that lived in the tombs and kept cutting himself with stones. I like him ten times as much as the Disciples, that poor b*st*rd. I used to get in quite a few arguments about it, when I was at the Whooton School, with this boy that lived down the corridor, Arthur Childs. Old Childs was a Quaker and all, and he read the Bible all the time. He was a very nice kid, and I liked him, but I could never see eye to eye with him on a lot of stuff in the Bible, expecially the Disciples. He kept telling me that if I didn't like the Disciples, then I didn't like Jesus and all. He said that because Jesus picked the Disciples, you were supposed to like them. I said I knew He picked them, but that He picked them at random. I said He didn't have time to go around analyzing everybody. I sad I wasn't blaming Jesus or anything. It wasn't his fault that He didn't have any time. I remember I asked old Childs if he thought Judas, the one that betrayed Jesus and all, went to Hell after he committed suicide. Childs said certainly. That's exactly where I disagreed with him. I said I'd bet a thousand bucks that Jesus never sent old Judas to Hell. I still would, too, if I had a thousand bucks. I think any one of the Disciples would've sent him to Hell and all - and fast, too - but I'll bet anything Jesus didn't do it. Old Childs said the trouble with me was that I didn't go to church or anything. He was right about that, in a way. I don't. In the first place, my parents are different religions, and all the children in our families are atheists. If you want to know the truth, I can't even stand ministers. The ones they've had at every school I've gone to, they all have these Holy Joe voices when they start giving their sermons. God, I hate that. I don't see why the hell they can't talk in their natural voice. They sound so phony when they talk.
Anyway, when I was in bed, I couldn't pray worth a d*mn.
A bit of trivia I found at Wikipedia : "Kurt Cobain, of Nirvana, was seen carrying The Catcher In The Rye just days prior to his suicide. It is said to have been his favorite book."

1 comment:

David Jefferson said...

Why would you censor that passage? Have you learned nothing from the uproar about censorship of this novel since its publishing?