CT Journal: Write a paper in which you develop
a line of thought about Catcher in the Rye by means of an extended
analogy. Conclude with a paragraph discussing how your analogy helps
you think differently about CITR.
The Catcher in theRye is like a roller coaster that takes you
through twists and turns of Holden's mind, flipping you upside down
and inside out. Roller coasters are bumpy rides that aren't meant to
be smooth and easy-going, much like the way that Holden introduces
himself to you. At the beginning of the book Holden seems very blunt
and uses rude language to introduce himself implying that he didn't
care much about what you were about to read. At the beginning of the
roller coaster ride its not really smooth; you can feel the bumps in
the tracks and the friction between it and the wheels of the cart you
The story starts off with an intro to Holden and a brief summary of
some of the things that had happened in the past, but then he decides
to leave Pencey early. This point in the story is like the big drop
that is present at the beginning of most roller coasters. Then it
takes you through a few twists and turns as Holden has some
experiences while in New York by himself. For example, he goes
dancing with three girls in the lavender room, which is a little
fling of fun for Holden, but not the main part of his journey/ride.
Then he encounters an elevator man named Maurice that tries to get
Holden involved in a prostitution transaction and because Holden is
pretty drunk he agrees. Holden ends up having to pay more than he
thought for the prostitute even though he didn't do anything with
her. When he refuses to pay he gets hit and he ends up feeling lonely
At this point the story takes a break of action while Holden meets
with Sally and Carl Luce and spends time with then because he has no
one else to be around. In both situations Holden calls them up to
meet him. This s like the point in the roller coaster ride when the
drops have died out for a while and you're wanting more action in the
ride. Holden is crying out and asking for something to keep him
occupied; little does he know that another series of drops are about
to come. Holden decides to go home to see Phoebe because he wants to
see her and almost gets caught at home early by his parents coming
home late. Holden gets rattled about this event and decides to leave
as soon as he can. Then Holden goes to visit his old teacher, Mr.
Antolini, and ends up planing to stay the night at his house till the
next day. Then all of a sudden in the middle of the night, Holden is
awakened by the touch of his teacher's hand on his head. This action
comes as a complete surprise to Holden and he can think of no other
way to deal with the situation than to run out. This is like one of
those sharp turns that you would never expect to be around the corner
on that roller coaster ride.
Then the story ends with a little fight between Holden and Phoebe
because Phoebe wants to go with Holden, but then ends gently with a
happy ending that leaves you wanting to hear more. The fight between
Holden and Phoebe is the one last small drop before the ride starts
to slow down to a stop. As the roller coaster stops and the end of
the ride, they bring you in gently, getting ready to let you off, yet
you want to ride it again and again. The story leaves you wanting to
hear more about the future that Holden will encounter, leaving you in
wonderment and letting you use your imagination to think of what is
next in Holden Caulfield's life.
The roller coaster is a direct example to the ups and downs of the
events in the story. Holden may be at a point in the story where
nothing seems to be happening, then all of a sudden something big
will happen that will affect the rest ofthe story. A roller coaster
has dips, turn, drops, and straight areas like Holden's life.
The book The Catcher in the Rye is like peanut butter. Like
peanut butter the book has been around unchanged for a pretty long
time. Even so, both have remained popular. I'm not saying that the
newest fads advocate eating peanut butter or reading The Catcher
in the Rye, but they have retained somewhat of a following. There
are people who eat peanut butter every day, and others who like it
and eat it occasionally. In the same way there are people who spend
months/years reading and analyzing the book, and others who just read
it and study it for a little while if at all.
Another way that The Catcher in the Rye is like peanut butter
is that they both seem simple, but contain a lot of good stuff.
Peanut butter is a simple paste, but it is packed with nutrients. It
is high in calories, fats, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and also
contains many vitamins and minerals. In the same way the book does
not seem like it is anything special at first, however, if you study
it you find that it has a lot to offer. Peanut butter is more
nutritious than its equivalent weight in beef. In the same way most
serious readers could get much more out of The Catcher in the
Rye, than from reading a lot of other more popular books like
Harry Potter or Dr. Seuss.
Peanut butter is also similar to the book because it is somewhat
consistent. Throughout the book there are certain things that keep
popping up. Holden was always saying that something was depressing or
phony, that someone was a bastard, that Allie and his sister were
smart, "if you want to know the truth," etc. Other things like the
ducks and hunting hat were also mentioned many times throughout the
book. Even though there is a lot of consistency, there are also many
surprising or unexpected parts of the story, like when he looks out
his window and sees a cross-dresser or when Mr. Antolini is petting
him. Peanut butter can be surprising in several different ways. You
can open a jar and find that it is moldy, learn of a new use for it
(cleaner, fuel, etc.), find a chunk of peanut in a jar of smooth
peanut butter, learn that old peanut butter separates, etc.
Once peanut butter is used and the originally smooth surface is
disrupted, it is nearly impossible to make it the way it used to be.
If you try you often make it worse. Also if you have gum stuck to
something, you can get it off using peanut butter. Unfortunately, you
have to deal with getting the peanut butter off, after you are
finished. In the story, when something bad happens, things do not
return to normal, and problems often are not completely resolved.
Actions taken by Holden or other characters usually caused other
problems. For example in the beginning of the story Holden can't
stand staying at his school. His solution is to go to New York and
stay at a hotel for a couple of days. This solution created many
problems of its own, because he wasn't happy in New York either.
Another example is when he asks the second cab driver if he knew what
happened to the ducks during to winter. Instead of answering Holden's
question, the cab driver just gives him false information about fish.
When Holden invited Carl Luce to have a drink with him, so that he
could ask for advice or maybe feel less depressed and lonely, Carl
doesn't want to talk about anything serious. Holden ends up getting
really drunk, and he suffers from the effects of over drinking for a
long time afterwards.
One thing that my analogy helps me understand about the book is that
it is a complex book. Even though we have studied it in class for
quite some time, I feel that we could go a lot deeper. My analogy
made me think of things that we had discussed briefly in class, but
had not found very convincing explanations for. We mostly agreed that
the things that kept coming up, like the ducks, were significant, but
we never really found out why. I already kind of knew that there were
things we did not discuss in much depth, but my analogy really
brought those things to my attention.