I Respect J.D. Salinger

June 19, 2009 at 10:23 pm (Authors Who Influence)

This is not a post about the merits of The Catcher in the Rye.  I read the book in high school and even though I found it entertaining it did not change my life like other books have.  My respect stems from Mr. Salinger’s firm belief in his characters remaining true to form as he created them.

Recently an article appeared in The New York Times about the controversy of a new book being released.  The book is about Holden Caulfield as a 76-year-old man. The author is currently in a court battle over copyright infringement.  Usually I find myself against taking measures as far as the courtroom, but I continued to read the article and realized the lengths Mr. Salinger has gone in order to protect the integrity of his characters.

If you have ever written anything, you know the bond an author has with his/her characters.  The same can be said when you fall in love with characters in a book only to be disappointed by the film depiction of those characters.  You feel cheated.  Many times the film version is a cheap imitation of the people you came to love.

J.D. Salinger has protected the character of Holden Caulfield, and even though he is not one of my favorite characters I recognize his status as a literary icon—I respect that status.  When I read about Mr. Salinger turning down offers by Steven Spielberg and others I fully grasped the level of love he feels for Caulfield.  It seems almost fatherly.  That protection is worth fighting for, and it is definitely worth my respect.

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1 Comment

  1. Lena said,

    Scholarly analysis, Chaney. Why not send it as a letter to the NY Times? Yes, a writer who earns the reader’s respect has indeed scored a touchdown!

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