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R.I.P in the Rye

Updated on February 13, 2013

You said Goodbye to the world a long time before you actually left it. You never wanted greatness – you had it thrust upon you and you did the only thing you felt you could – you retreated into your own private space. But not before you gave us Holden Caulfield. Rebellious, never-grow-up Holden who became the symbol for teenage turbulence. More importantly, the symbol of the non-phony.

Catcher in the Rye
Catcher in the Rye

What was it all about, this book that grew bigger than you and became the inspiration for a whole generation? Was it just a journey of self-discovery? Or was it a treatise about integrity, of being true to oneself above all else? And does being true to oneself and shunning phoniness set you apart, put you in the fringes?

Whatever it was, the heart of the book captivated us – maybe because we saw a bit of ourselves in the protagonist? Maybe because those were the idealistic years when being a part of the herd didn’t always matter.

They say you wrote more – a lot more. Will it all come pouring out now that you’re gone? The question is: do we want it to come pouring out? Or would we rather hold onto that one dream you inspired, hidden beneath those memories of the way things were, before the masks were in place? Sometimes, ‘just enough’ is a lot more powerful than ‘too much’.

Gin a body meet a body comin’ thro’ the rye …. there’s no need to cry. Just rest in peace. Did you just say, ‘Sleep tight, ya morons?’


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    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      True, watcher by night. Too much, like familiarity, can sometimes breed contempt I guess! Thanks for coming by and reading.

    • watcher by night profile image

      watcher by night 7 years ago

      Shalini-- "Sometimes, ‘just enough’ is a lot more powerful than ‘too much’.". That's a very good insight. Salvador Dali wrote at length about how an artist might recognize when a painting is finished, so as not to go too far and spoil it. Thanks for the tribute to Holden and his author.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Thank you for coming by De Greek - just a word of caution though - you shouldn't always follow a wicked cat's advice :D

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      I see why Feline Prophet pointed me in your direction :-)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Cris - you read it, that's the wonderful thing! Yes, it was such a part of our gen's growing up years - not yours, mine :)

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      That's a sweet tribute to one great voice of a generation. I read Catcher when I was 21 and it felt so unfair that I missed out on what could be the bible for everybody who's having a hard time figuring out how to be a teenager. Enjoyed this so very much. Thanks for sharing :D

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      I'm glad you think so - thanks, HPR!

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      A befitting tribute to a great writer.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Thank you garcilazoand!

    • garcilazoand profile image

      garcilazoand 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Great author. Great tribute.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      dali48 - thank you for reading. Yes, I ;oved reading it again too - took me back!

      RGraf - thanks - appreciate it!

      Aya - I do like his other stuff too but for me at that age, this one made such an impression. I didn't think to analyse it then - I do now - all I knew was it felt like a mental revolution.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

      Shalini, the title to this piece obscured what it was about, or else I would have come by to read it earlier. I love J.D. Salinger's writing, too, but I didn't keep up with the news, and did not realize he had died. For me, his great masterpiece is not CATCHER IN THE RYE, though, which is after all very judgmental and spends way too much time berating the phonies. I love him most for FRANNY & ZOOEY. Also, FOR ESME WITH LOVE AND SQUALOR. He is best when he is being poignantly vulnerable, not when he's attacking others.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Applaud! Wonderful tribute.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Hi greensnob - I just did and it took me back! Thanks for reading.

    • greensnob profile image

      greensnob 7 years ago

      I think I might take a trip down memory lane and read this again. It will be better the second time.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      2patricias - thanks for reading - it was soooo unique wasn't it?

      Enelle - thank you, thank you!

      Tony my friend - what an influence Holden Caulfield was in all our young lives! Thanks for coming by!

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 7 years ago from san diego calif

      Great tribute Shalini ! Holden Caulfield was a part of my teenage years too. And I love the work you did here.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      I agree with 2patricias! Wonderful tribute Shalini!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      What a sweet tribute to a fascinating writer.

      'Catcher in the Rye' was truly unique.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      He was such a great influence in so many of our lives, like you said fierycj.

      Jaspal - thanks - appreciate your reading.

      Tammy - thanks so much!

      Dohn - As always, great to see you stopping by!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you for sharing this great tribute to one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. He may be one of the most least understood as well. Your appreciation for his work is truly evident here, Shalini. Thanks again!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Great tribute to a great novelist. You are so creative.

    • Jaspal profile image

      Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      What a nice - just the right - tribute to such a great writer and such a great book!

    • fierycj profile image

      fierycj 7 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

      J.D is the reason I became I writer...You wanna understand the Fiery "The Catcher in the Rye"...that book influenced me in more ways than I can care to admit...

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Hi Jill - yes, there's always the possibility of 'maybe...'...who knows, what is to come could be even bigger, even better!

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Wonderful tribute to a wonderful author! Maybe you are right - "sometimes 'just enough' is a lot more powerful than 'too much'". Maybe....

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      You said it perfectly - it was indeed a rite of passage.

      Hello, hello, - thank you.

      VioletSun - just what I did yesterday :)

      Mickey Dee - thanks for reading.

      StoryTellersrus - appreciate your reading.

      Ann - I think you'll find it powerful.

      Sally's Trove - yes, I agree - to me it was the catalyst for our generation!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thank you for this Hub, Shalini. I did not know that he passed until reading your words.

      "The Catcher in the Rye" was required reading when I was in high school (grade 10-11). It was an enormous influence on us, an influence aided by brilliant teachers, all older than us, who were allowed the freedom to encourage young people to explore without the constraints of the generation that molded them.

      This author, this book, shaped my generation's entrance into a freedom that, I think, made the Hippie movement possible. What followed after that is a topic of another day.

      Thanks for this tribute.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      I posted something about this in the forum where I to my shame admitted that I have never read the book. But it is always sad to see writers go. RIP, Salinger and thanks for this nice hub because I had no idea what I was posting, Shalini!

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Nice, Shalini.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Great job. Thank you.

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      A beautiful tribute to a great writer! May be good for me to read the book again; just for old times sake.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      A great tribute to a great writer. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 7 years ago

      Shal, that was such a lovely way to write a tribute! And what a cult book that a rite of passage for most of us!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      IslandVoice - yes, you said it - there could only be one of him!

      Uninvited Writer - thank you. He was such a great influence on my generation.

      breakfastpop - he did, indeed - and he showed us what was important.

      Dim - thank you for reading.

      Candie - you don't need to be - it just means you're so much younger! He actually dates our generation :D

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      You know, I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but I have never ever read this book! One of these days I'll break down and find and read it (based solely on your hub!) Thanks Shalini!

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Wonderful tribute Shalini. Your hubs are always inspiring.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      What a wonderful tribute to a man who never sought the limelight but brought joy to so many. Rest in Peace..

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      This is wonderful. A great tribute and so poetic.

    • IslandVoice profile image

      Sylvia Van Velzer 7 years ago from Hawaii

      My, my, my! What a lovely and touching tribute to one of the greatest and beloved novelist,writers of all time. You said it, "Sometimes, ‘just enough’ is a lot more powerful than ‘too much’.". There is only one Jerome David Salinger, and that is more than enough.