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Hi and welcome to today is a session where we continue to look at the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. This is an American novel and this is a work that gained popularity across the globe especially with young adults and this was incidentally a work written from an adolescent boy, it is like a coming of age work in that sense written entirely from the perspective of an adolescent boy and it uses the first-person narrative as we have taken a look at already. And today having discussed some of the important themes and significant symbols and motives in this novel, we will we also take a look at some of the excerpts through which I hope you will also get a sense of the novel and the sense of the narrative and a hang of where this plot is headed. So what we will do in this session is we will take a look at some of the episodes especially from the first half of the novel and I hope that will also encourage you to go back and read the novel in its original form. The novel is divided into different chapters and very significantly in a very teenage form of a narrative, this does not have any subtitles and I find it very interesting that the author considered it not important to give subtitles because none of these chapters talks entirely about a single theme there is an abrupt kind of a jump from one thing to the other as you would begin to see. And this entire novel is being told in the form of a recollection when Holden Caulfield he is in the hospital, he is getting treated for depression apparently and we also get to know that the kind of thoughts that he has during this time it is this novel is up it is a kind of documentation of his thoughts, his past life and we do not even know how much of this is true, how much of this is a figment of his imagination but this much we can be very sure of that he is being honest to his true self the way he is feeling at the point of this narration that is the that is something that we get the feel of that we get through this entire work as well. So when the work begins and this is an excerpt that we already had taken a look at in the previous session It talks about how he wants to skip a few details, he does not want to talk about his childhood which he refers to as the lousy childhood and he straightaway begins to talk about the experience that he had in this public school and we get to know that it is a very prestigious sought after public school from which he is about to get evicted. So in the first chapter itself we get the sense of the school it is Pencey Prep and the location is Pencey Prep as the school that is in Hagerstown, Pennsylvania and he also says he also talks rather sarcastically and very cynically about the various things that the school boast about since 1888 we have been moulding boys into splendid clear-thinking young men and he is very sceptical about that they do not do any damn more moulding at Pencey than they do at any other school and I did not know anybody there that was splendid and clear-thinking and all, maybe two guys if that many and they probably came to Pencey that way. So this is his attitude to Pencey Prep and the kind of claims that they make for themselves about moulding young boys into clear-thinking men. (Refer Slide Time: 03:35) And in the first chapter itself we get to know that more than talking about himself Holden Caulfield is mostly talking about others he is a watcher, he is constantly watching others play and there is a very engaging description of the football game that he is watching and we get to know that he stays isolated, he is not hanging out with anyone, he is just watching the game, he is just watching the others participating in various kinds of action and he has this inability to mix with others. We get to know that from the first chapter onwards that he is a loner, he is desperately trying to connect with people but he is unable to make that connection, so he always stays aloof he is this typical adolescent boy. Throughout the novel, we find him desperately trying to connect with others but he has this complete inability to do so and when he is talking about the school no matter how involved he seems in many of the activities when I say involved it is always from a distance, he is never part of any group, he is never part of any activity. He also makes this very clear statement it was a terrible school no matter how you looked at it and he is talking about he is inventing excuses to dislike the school you will find this critique in this novel almost throughout and some of them may come across as being very flippant but some are very hard-hitting as well which is the reason why the novel was banned from the from many of the public schools and the access to this novel was denied in many of the high schools. And when this novel begins he is about to say goodbye to his school and this is a way in which he begins to talk about saying goodbyes and he is also giving us a reason why he tries to get involved with various activities why he tries to watch and give a description of various activities that is his way of establishing some kind of a connection as well. (Refer Slide Time: 05:29) I was trying to feel some kind of goodbye I mean I have left schools and places I did not even know I was leaving them, I hate that, I do not care if the sad goodbye or a bad goodbye but when I leave a place I like to know I am leaving it if you do not you feel even worse. So throughout this story we get a sense that this is what he is trying to do he has been kicked out of this school, he is being asked to leave, he is forced to leave because he has flunked in all the subjects except English and they see no promising career for a student like Holden Caulfield. It is a typical successful sought after public school, so he is about to leave for home and he wants to say a proper goodbye these details and the many narratives that he recalls are one way of Holden Caulfield saying goodbye to his school and what happens in the story is he is supposed to leave Pencey Prep on a particular day and he leaves much earlier than that. He literally runs away from the school and he spends time in the city loitering around and the story is partly about his recollections from what happened in the school and partly about the experiences that he gathered on the street the hard-hitting reality of the adult world, the phoniness of the adult world that he had always been resisting that he had always been hating. We find him encountering just that out on the streets and he is all the more convinced that the adult world is very phoney when he is made to encounter a more hard-hitting reality that the world which awaits outside, the world that he is resisting so much, the world that he wants to keep all the children away from this no way in which you can avoid them there is an inevitability of maturing, there is an inevitability to of growing up which is what this novel is ultimately all about. When this story is progressing we also get to know that he is been eye diagnosed with TB and he is hospitalized, so maybe he is going through multiple things at the same time, he is depressed on account of the experiences that he went through, he is also to going undergoing serious physical illness he has contracted TB and he is being institutionalized for that. So this story when he is recalling this in this form he is in a hospital bed and we get a sense of that on and off and especially more towards the end of this work. There is a certain paradox that we begin to see when he is saying goodbye to the school it is not as if it is the first time that he is saying goodbye to any particular school, he says at one point that this is the fourth school that he is about to say goodbye to. So we get to know that he is a misfit, Holden Caulfield is a misfit in this system of Education and he no matters how hard he tries he cannot perform well in any of the subjects this does not mean that he is essentially a dumb person he decides to perform well in English and we know that he does exactly that and there is an active and deliberate effort that he makes not to perform in any of the others and it is that it works in the same way with all his relationships as well. At one level it feels like he is desperately trying to connect to people and he is trying to reach out with people but there is also a certain kind of a choice that he makes in that aspect, he only wants to hang out with, he only wants to connect with certain kind of kinds of people who are not phonies themselves and in this pursuit, he gets to zero in on only one person which is his baby sister, his little sister Phoebe and the rest of the world and all the others which are a part of this world that he is inhabiting they all come across as fake and hypocritical and insincere in one form or the other. If one tries to summarize this novel you would begin to feel that this is an almost an impossible task because there are many details which are not very significant but on when looked at it together they begin to make sense the critique begins to make a lot of sense, for instance, there is this particular instance in one of the earliest chapters where he talks about the teacher’s attitude how some teachers come to class and embarrass students for no reason and he talks about that as a very important episode which happened during his school life. And this is what happens when the teacher wants to read out an essay that he had written and he knows that the intention is not to praise him but to completely embarrass him in front of the others and this is something which this novel also critiques in a very subtle way by alerting the entire system of education by alerting the teachers that there are certain things which are not to be done within a classroom space because you are also dealing with very deli gs who are trying to mould themselves into rational beings, who are trying to mould themselves into thinking young men and women as the novel itself says but at the same time sometimes the attitudes of the teachers they come across as more destructive, they come across as more delimiting than enabling. And while talking about the reason for leaving one of the earliest schools he says one of the biggest reasons I left Elton Hills school was because I was surrounded by phonies that is all they were coming in the goddamn window, for instance, they had this headmaster, Mr Huss that was the phoniest bastard I ever met in my life ten times worse than old Thurmer on Sundays, for instance, old Haas went around shaking hands with everybody’s parents when they drove up to school he would be charming as hell and all except if some boy had little old funny-looking parents. You should have seen the way he did with my roommate's parents I mean if a boy’s mother was sort of fat or Connie looking or something and if somebody’s father was one of those guys that wear those suits with very big shoulders and Connie black and white shoes then old Haas would just shake hands with them and give them a phoney smile and then he would go talk for maybe half an hour with somebody else’s parents I cannot stand that stuff it drives me crazy it makes me so depressed I go crazy I hated that god damn Elton Hills. Look at the kind of language that he uses it is a very teenage rant which we find getting manifested over here but look at the details that he gives us, look at the kind of stuff that is making him feel depressed and this is the adult world that Holden Caulfield would rather not inhabit would rather stay away from with all his might and this is what he wants to do as the title implies to he wants to be the Catcher in the Rye, he wants to be that boy who would prevent other little girls and boys from crossing over into adulthood because that is a phoney world, that is a very fake world it has got no sincerity in it and his dissatisfaction with the world around him can also be summed up over here. It is the dissatisfaction with the phonies that is one of the most used words in this entire work, his dissatisfaction with the fake world that he sees around him and that makes him feel very upset there is something very honest about this boy as we would begin to see something very appealing about the kind of ethics even an ideal state of affairs that he believes in. Chapter 3 begins with this statement. (Refer Slide Time: 12:39) I am the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life, so this is very interesting we begin to wonder how reliable the narrator is whether he is telling us the truth after all and given the condition that he is in right now he is in a hospital, he is institutionalized, he is certainly depressed, he is being treated for TB, he must be under a lot of medication there could be a lot of hallucination as well so we have no idea whether he is telling us the truth or not. The reliability of this narrative will always remain under question but what comes through is the honesty through which the narratives are placed, what comes through is a critique and the cynicism which completely resonates with the teenage rhetoric resonates with how teenagers feel at various points of time especially if they are not doing well in school if they are not doing well in the adult world. And again in chapter 3 after having said that he is a terrific liar he also tells us about some of his reading habits some of his interests and we get to know that there is a certain kind of intelligence which the others completely fail to understand. He comes across as a boy who is very well-read, who can articulate well and at a later point we even get to know that there are a lot of seniors who bully Holden Caulfield in writing their essays and they score well. And this is the kind of intelligence that a school like Pencey Prep all the other 4 schools that he had already left they fail to recognize, they fail to identify they all see him as a failure and this is perhaps the most hard-hitting kind of a critique against this system of Education. And this incidentally which will hold water in any of the systems and any of the institutions that we see around. It is in Chapter 4 that he also talks about the phoniness of the other young teenage boys around him he finds that there is one boy that he repeatedly talks about particularly in chapter 4 because he is also going out with a girl that he is interested in Stradlater, Stradlater’s hypocrisy comes across is very striking and it is at this point that perhaps Holden Caulfield also begins to realize that the phoniness is not entirely an attribute of the adult world you find that all around you hypocrisy is all around you and Stradlater comes across as this very much a figure but he also needs Holden Caulfield’s help for instance he goes and asks how about writing a composition for me for English. So Holden at times realizes the power that he has over language but he just does not know how to use it in the way that the others use various kinds of powers over him to bully him, to pull him down and in chapter 4 we also get a sense of how good his sense of language is, look at this excerpt. (Refer Slide Time: 15:22) So Stradlater comes to talk to him about why he has been scoring low in his English papers and he says so I mean do not stick all the commas and stuff in the right place this is Stradlater complaining to him about how lousy he is at writing and Holden Caulfield is thinking there is something else that gives me a royal pain I mean if you are good at writing compositions and somebody starts talking about commas Stradlater was always doing that he wanted you to think that the only reason he was lousy at writing compositions was that he stuck all the commas in the wrong place. Here we find him talking like a very intelligent kid he knows what it takes to get good writing done and we find that this is one of the things that he is least appreciated for and he is very clear in his thinking, he is very clear in assessing and evaluating people we get to know that throughout the novel but this is also something that the rest of the world the adult world mostly that he is always engaging when they completely fail to realize that. So when he talks about his favourite works there is this wish that comes to his mind which is again totally out of the world what knocks me out is a book that when you are all done reading it you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it that does not happen much though. So these are the kind of things that he wishes for and it is very non-adolescent like it is very non-teenager like when the other boys are chasing up girls when they are always talking about wine and whiskey and women we find that this boy though he misses those things, though he misses on hanging out with the other boys who are doing such seemingly interesting stuff he is into more serious business and this is a quality which the world which he inhabits completely fails to understand. And I want to draw your attention again to the title Catcher in the Rye what he wants to do is something very noble but he is being kicked out of this fancy school, this prestigious school because he has not got the right amount of fine thinking but throughout this work when the way we look at it, when we are seeing the other characters from Holden Caulfield we find that he is the one who has got the most refined form of thinking, he is the one who has got the clearest form of thinking out of all the others. Thereof course a lot of insignificant details that you would find, there are of course a lot of teenage stuff that he does but irrespective of that there is a certain clarity, there is a kind of purpose-driven thought that we find Holden Caulfield being dominated with. So there is a girl that he is interested in Jane who was also his childhood friend but we find from this point with every single relationship that he had there is a certain kind of a desire in action pattern, we find that he never gets to go out or hang out with a girl, he never gets to have a real relationship when it looks as if the other boys are having a lot of fun. And this is something that he always keeps regretting, he always keeps talking about as a significant lack but we also find a certain kind of a pattern in this in terms of this desire and inaction and it could be also because he is very different from the others and this certainly is not seen as a quality in the as far as he is concerned he sees that more as a lack, he sees that more as a kind of lowliness from his spot but on the other hand looking at the novel as an outsider when we look at all these characters, we find that at certain level Holden Caulfield also thinks that he is too good for the others, he thinks that he is morally way better than the others. When he is calling the others a phoney the last thing that he realizes is that he is also in the process of becoming phoney by himself that he is also susceptible to all this hypocrisy and these insincerities that he sees all around him but for the large part of the novel he is completely aware of that, how he is also getting sucked into this adult world and he thinks that he is always able to stand outside and critique this world that he loathes a lot but towards the end of the novel we find that he is also coming to terms with this reality that he needs to live in that world. The phoniness that he despises gradually becomes a part of himself too and he realizes that unless he begins to deal with it there is no way in which he can grow up or he can allow others like his little sister Phoebe to grow up. We will wrap up day’s lecture with one final point which is one of the hard-hitting critiques they can the system of education you find that in chapter 17 he is talking to Sally about the system of education through which he went through and from which he is about to be kicked out. You ought to go to a boys school sometime, try it sometime it is full of phonies and all you do is to study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough, to be able to buy a goddamn Cadillac someday and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses and all you do is to and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day and everybody sticks together in these dirty little goddam cliques. The guys that around the basketball team stick together, the Catholics stick together, the goddamn intellectuals stick together, the guys that play bridge stick together even the guys that belong to the goddamn Book of the Month Club stick together, if you try to have a little intelligent and the conversation is interrupted by Sally, so this is the point that the novel tries to make to this system of education, it makes sense if you are trying to buy a goddamn Cadillac as it puts it. So this novel is about boys like Holden Caulfield who are not interested in buying this goddamn Cadillac and the question that perhaps Holden Caulfield is trying to ask the reader, trying to ask the world outside is what to do with those boys who are not interested in buying this Cadillac what would they get out of this system? It is not that the novel begins to answer that in some form or the other but it does a wonderful thing in the 1950s by critiquing this system the purpose of which seems at the end of the day is just to enable you to buy an expensive car, just to enable you to afford an expensive lifestyle. So beyond that like they put it at the beginning of the novel in a very cynical way pointing out that the objective of the school is to mould boys into splendid clear-thinking young men. We find that though Holden Caulfield is forced to leave Pencey Prep even before his term came to an end, even before he graduated we find that he emerges gradually into a fine clear-thinking person. We may not always agree with the kind of things that he did, the kind of things that he believed in, the kind of e many suspicions that he has about the world but he learns to think with a lot of clarity in this process he can make sense in amidst to a lot of mess as well. So in the next session, we shall come back to take one final look at this work and to see how this also impacted how literature began to be read how literature began to have a dialogue with these kinds of various institutions which are situated outside the literary framework. On that note I wrap up today is a session and I also encourage you to read the novel or at least begin to read sections of it, I thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you in the next session.