J. D. Salinger was born in New York City in 1919. The son of a wealthy cheese importer, Salinger grew up in a fashionable neighborhood in Manhattan and spent his youth being shuttled between various prep schools before his parents finally settled on the Valley Forge Military Academy in 1934. He graduated from Valley Forge in 1936 and attended a number of colleges, including Columbia University, but did not graduate from any of them. However, while at Columbia, Salinger took a creative writing class in which he excelled, cementing the interest in writing that he had maintained since his teenage years. Salinger had his first short story published in 1940; he continued to write even as he joined the army and fought in Europe during World War II. Upon his return to the United States and civilian life in 1946, Salinger continued to write stories, publishing them in many of the more respected magazines. In 1951, Salinger published his only full-length novel, The Catcher in the Rye, which propelled him onto the national stage.
Many events from Salinger's early life appear in The Catcher in the Rye. For instance, Holden Caulfield moves from prep school to prep school, is threatened with military school, and knows an older Columbia student. In the novel, such autobiographical details are transplanted into a post–World War II setting. The Catcher in the Rye was published at a time when the burgeoning American industrial economy made the nation prosperous and entrenched social rules served as a code of conformity for the younger generation. Because Salinger used slang and profanity in his text and because he discussed adolescent sexuality in a complex and open way, many readers were offended, and The Catcher in the Rye provoked great controversy upon its release. Some critics argued that the book was not serious literature, citing its casual and informal tone as evidence. The book was—and continues to be—banned in some communities, and it consequently has been thrown into the center of debates about First Amendment rights, censorship, and obscenity in literature. Source= SparkNotes
Context of the Novel
Holden Caulfield is the 17-year old narrator
and main character of the novel. He tells his
tale set in the early 1950’s from a sanatorium
in Southern California.
Throughout the telling of the tale, our narrator digresses and before the events, which led up to his nervous breakdown, are told, he tells us about his brother D.B. D.B. was a promising short story writer who sold out to the glitz of Hollywood and he is now a scriptwriter.(Source http://www.bookwolf.com/) ...
Assignment 1-Character Sketch of Holden Caulfield
Read the Holden's quotes at the top of this page and the two comic illustration of the novel above WRITE 10 things you can infer about Holden's character in the novel. What kind of a person is he? Be sure to explain your answers.
Assignment 2-Conformist and Phoney
Define conformist and phoney List 5 examples for each.
Assignment 3-the 1950's Era
Write an essay describing the era of the 1950s
important people, dates, inventions, music, etc.