Before I watched the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series, I’ve probably seen/passed by the Catcher in the Rye book in my fave bookstore a lot of times. It must then be emphasized that if it weren’t for GITS:SAC, I’d probably not be interested in the book for a long time, or worse, never read it at all. To digress a little, it is amusing to note the views of people who were forced to read the book versus mine who read it willingly–my English classes never discussed the book.
It’s one of the things that’s alluring about art, or literature. Though most will be in agreement about beautiful/exotic/classical/(insert adjective here) works, people will derive their own meaning or understanding of the work on their own.
So how do I view the book? Best contemporary ‘controversial’ book I’ve read so far. I see the book as the recognition of hypocrisy in literary form. I may no longer be a teenager but I can still relate because I see the hypocrisy prevalent in the world–just read your newspaper or even history books. To quote TA:
Catcher is not an Issue Novel, or wasn’t until it became one of society-at-large’s Ways to Understand Teenagers. Salinger’s reclusiveness and his refusal to suggest a meaning contribute to an air of mystery surrounding what meaning, if any, the novel has – unlike Takimoto, who pops up in some helpful paratext(s) at the end of his novel, writing about the relationship between his life and Satou’s experience. But we assume the novel has a point despite this mystery, or perhaps because of it, or perhaps simply because that’s how we’re wired to read, or perhaps because it’s one of those books that people in authority make you read and write about.
Additionally, perhaps an appriopriate term might be social commentary from the eyes of a teenager. (Except that for myself I can no longer claim to be a teenager.) In contrast, Guy de Maupassant’s (um, he just comes to mind) short stories might have more point–but from 3 of his stories I’ve read they’re too sad to make me read them again. They just don’t capture my imagination as the radical style of ‘Catcher’. And I just love Holden’s chickening out with the prostitute and other mishaps.
TA then asks if Phoebe is moe, and lelangir further expounds on it and expands to include siscon and lolicon. I agree that ‘Trying to apply a recent Japanese phenomenon to an aged (sorta?) American novel is a fickle thing.’ Though I wonder if those who were not exposed to such terms–moe, siscon, and lolicon, would recognize those patterns immediately. If they did, they’d probably ‘discover’ it in this order: siscon, lolicon, moe. I doubt the moe part, though. The reason being there’s already universal terms for siscon and lolicon(I don’t have to spell them out, really), whereas moe doesn’t seem to have one. For the comparison with True Tears, I can’t comment because I haven’t seen the show (and have no urgent need to).
For another take, over at cucchlan(?) likens ‘Catcher’ to be hyped like Evangelion. It’s certainly a creative way of looking at it. But Shinji is more of an asshole than Holden, in my opinion. You can conclude I’d relate more to ‘Catcher’ than to Eva.
And now, the best part (in Baka Raptor’s words): the greatest contribution to literary discourse ever).
I looked around for a similar show, and Kannazuko no Miko came to mind. But Chimeko in the Rye just doesn’t quite sound as good as ShizNat in the Rye. I never really thought of that. So if there’s anything that might convince any staunch JD Salinger unbelievers (lol) to read ‘Catcher in the Rye’, perhaps Baka-Raptor can. 😀