The Relevancy of The Catcher in the Rye (open discussion)

The recent death of J.D. Salinger got us to thinking about what is probably his best-known work, The Catcher in the Rye.  First published in 1951, this coming-of-age novel had found it's way into America's classrooms by the early 1960's.  It also found it's way OUT of America's classrooms as it became one of the most challenged/banned books in U.S. schools up until even the 1990's..

Now anyone who's ever picked up the novel knows why it was so often challenged by parents.  The real question, for us at least, was why was it so often taught?  Why do you think this book was deemed important by literature professors?

A Reader's Respite originally had about three pages of questions intended to guide a discussion today.  Questions about the reliability of the narrator, the symbolism of Holden's hunting hat, even a question about the source of the title.  But then we realized that these questions weren't so important.

What is important is how YOU felt when reading this novel.  When did you first read it?  If you re-read the novel recently, how have your perceptions changed as an adult?  Do you think you'd feel differently about the novel if you'd first read it as an adult?  How do you feel about Holden (now and then)?

But perhaps the most important question of The Catcher in the Rye still relevant in the classroom?

Clearly there are no right or wrong answers here today.  Every viewpoint (even if you hated the novel) is relevant.  We'd love to hear your thoughts!

PS....For anyone interested in review nostalgia, A Reader's Respite found this NYT book review of The Catcher in the Rye dated the year of it's publication.

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