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Editorial Essay: To What Degree Does One Need To Know An Author’s Background To Understand And Appreciate A Novel?

997 words - 4 pages

Searching for background information about a novel or its author before reading it, is a matter that is subject of discussion all around the world. While many people believe that the different literary works ‘’speak for themselves’’ and do not rely upon further investigation, the truth is that every story depends on background information to be fully comprehended and appreciated and. The very celebrated, criticized and prominent novel ‘’The Catcher in the Rye’’, by J.D Salinger is not the exception. The amount of significant and vital information that can be obtained by exploring Salinger’s life, results very helpful for the readers that might have problems understanding the characters, their actions, their thoughts, and the motives for the existence of the novel.
Authors frequently put themselves into their own work and characters. After reading about Salinger’s life, the readers can actually understand the complex character of Holden. At first, people might wonder why Holden behaves the way he does, or why he seems to like certain things that at first sight are peculiar or make no sense to us. The view totally changes after exploring Salinger’s life in detail. Salinger seems to use Holden as a device through which he expresses his different emotions, feelings, secrets, likes, disgusts, etc. Holden and Salinger have many different similarities. A perfect example is the fact that after gaining so much fame, Salinger separated himself from the world and society by having the least amount of communication with different Medias and not publishing stories anymore. This behaviour is directly related and similar to one of Holden, who often tries to isolate himself from the world. There we can perceive how Salinger put himself into Holden’s character. Another example is how they both liked ‘’innocent’’, ‘’young’’ people. Salinger had a strange attraction to really young women. He had a relatively large number relationships, which didn’t last very long. Many people say that he believed that since he was only born with one testicle, younger women wouldn’t judge him because of their lack of knowledge about sexuality. Holden, did not exactly liked young people, but he did like people who were innocent and pure, like the nuns and little kids he enjoys to talk to for instance. That reveals that Holden didn’t like to be judge as well, just like his creator. Furthermore, it also shows how Salinger didn’t have a specific way in life and just went with it, which is what Holden shows at times, like when he suddenly destroys his and Sally’s relationship for example. Similarly, Holden does not really seem to be smooth when it comes to sexual relationships. The reason for that might be that Salinger wasn’t the best at it either. Salermo and Shields clearly state that he wasn’t able to ‘’consummate his relationships’’ with different girls, just like Holden in the novel. In many occasions he wasn’t able to consummate his sexual desires with different girls. ...

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