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The Catcher in the Rye Related to Suicide

Discussion
Oct 11, 2013

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is similar to the news we see today. In the news, we frequently hear of teenagers committing suicide because of bullying. In Salinger’s book the protagonist witnesses a young boy’s suicide at prep. The young boy being discussed is James Castle. James Castle was one of Holden Caulfield’s classmates in Elkton Hills. Although they were classmates they never talked to each other except for one time. He only talked to Holden to ask him if he can borrow his sweater. The protagonist gave his sweater to James, but never got it back. Anyway, one day a group of kids were bullying James and went in his room. James couldn’t take it anymore with the name calling so he stood up for himself and said something back to the people that were bullying him. Then out of nowhere he jumped out of his window while wearing Holden’s sweater. I am positively sure he was afraid of what the boys would have done to him if he stayed there. So he just decided to end his life at that moment. Salinger might have included this moment to show what society is capable of doing to people, especially teens.

The book does not explain if James Castle was ever thinking of killing himself, but the book does show the readers what Holden was thinking. From the novel one can see that Holden Caulfield also wanted to commit suicide. He hated phonies and everything else on the earth. For this reason, he left the school. To him Elkton Hills was full of phonies, especially those people that lead to James Castle’s death. Holden Caulfield and James Castle are similar and Castle’s incident shows that James and Holden were going through the same problems. To show this idea the author decided to include that James jumped out of the window while wearing Holden’s sweater. The protagonist started having problems with the people after his little brother passed away. When he died Holden’s life ended. He did not want to do anything anymore. He could not commit suicide because he knew he could not leave his sister behind.

Comments

Dear 16lliguichuzhcae: I am

Submitted by stieng on Sat, 2013-10-12 18:13.

Dear 16lliguichuzhcae:

I am very interested with your post "The Catcher in the Rye Related to Suicide," because some of the part in the book is almost about bullying and how they were different race and skin color. While the people in the book seems that its cool to bully while the person that is getting bully and be very scared and cause death.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: "In the news, we frequently hear of teenagers committing suicide because of bullying." I think this is very interesting to me because its really still happening right now like its never been stop like nobodies cares about people getting bully which leads to death for them. The thing people that are trying to help well they maybe sitting on the couch laying down thinking they doing work, but really being lazy.

Another sentence that I really think was cool was: "The book does not explain if James Castle was ever thinking of killing himself, but the book does show the readers what Holden was thinking. " This stood out for me because how do you know if he died or not they never told you anything about a kid died in the school. How do you really assume he died in the book?

I do agree with you that in the book or real life that some people are really getting bullies and kill themselves. One reason I say this is because in your post you say that in real life its really happening that students are getting killed or killing themselves. Another reason I agree with you is that people around the world is getting bullied and that people are trying to stop it from happen, but completely fail and people get killed.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because you really influence people to read this and that it connects from the real world that people are killing themselves because of the bullying.You really care about the people around you too as well trying to at least help the world with bullying so thank you for the post.

Dear 16lliguichuzhcae: I am

Submitted by ihernandez on Mon, 2013-10-14 10:40.

Dear 16lliguichuzhcae:

I am in complete agreement with your post, "The Catcher in the Rye Related to Suicide", because I too read the same book and was interested to know how someone put of oakland felt about it.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: " Holden Caulfield and James Castle are similar and Castle’s incident shows that James and Holden were going through the same problems. To show this idea the author decided to include that James jumped out of the window while wearing Holden’s sweater." I think this is new because I also read the book and thought the same but never thought about thinking that a sweater was like a way that linked both characters.

Another sentence that I found sad was: "The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is similar to the news we see today. In the news, we frequently hear of teenagers committing suicide because of bullying" This stood out for me because I complete agreed and its sad how the future of our nation bullies each other and puts one another down.

Your post reminds me of something that I read online. One time I was scrolling on FB and came up on a story of a beautiful young girl who killed her self because of cyber bullying and bullying in school. At first I didn't believe it because I was on FB but I looked it up and sadly, it was true.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because you have new and different ideas than what people around my discuss and I wanna know other books you read to see if we have read the same books.

I also agree

Submitted by 16choh on Mon, 2013-10-14 15:11.

I also agree that bullying makes the world much more dangerous. There are many FB posts that have to do with deaths and suicides these days. I personally havent experienced suicides in my life so I dont know the true sorrow people feel. I really like how you quoted parts of her post to support your opinion on the post.

Agree

Submitted by 16kaurs on Mon, 2013-11-25 21:35.

I like how you have noticed a connection between Holden and James Castle. I agree with the idea that Holden and James had a connection because James died with Holden's sweater on. I believe the author purposely conveyed the idea that they were connected because they were both isolated from the rest of the world. For example, James Castle was described as a person who did not talk much and did not have any friends. Similarly, Holden did not really have any friends besides his sister, if that counts.

I also agree that suicide is very common due to bullying. There have been many cases in the news and online because of bullying. I have also seen posts online about people who have committed suicide because of how much they were tormented within school and online.

James Castle

Submitted by 16choh on Mon, 2013-10-14 13:03.

Hi Erica.

I really liked how you described James Castle's suicide with so much detail and with facts from the text. It was great how you related this to Holden's own struggles and experiences with death. good discussion post!

Suicide in Catcher in the Rye

Submitted by 16kaurs on Mon, 2013-11-25 21:28.

Hi Erica,

Your discussion post caught my eye and is very enjoyable to read. I liked that you were able to create the inference that Salinger suggests what society is capable of doing to people. Suicide has been a frequent topic in the novel considering that James Castle commits suicide and Holden Caulfield is suicidal. I believe Salinger includes the topic of suicide because both James and Holden were isolated. For example, in the novel when James is about to kill himself he had been surrounded by a group of boys. He was not like the other boys since he was quiet and polite. He was different from everybody else around him and commit suicide for that reason. For the same reason, Holden is suicidal. Holden views all of the world as 'phonies' and does not feel like anyone besides his sister understands him. Yet, he still feels isolated.

interesting idea

Submitted by 16choh on Wed, 2013-11-27 00:38.

This is an interesting idea. I didn't see Holden's loneliness as similar to James Castle's. I also didn't see Holden as suicidal. This is a new idea to me, though I read the book at least twice. Your explanation helped me to understand what you were saying and I understand your position in this post.

Half and Half

Submitted by StephanyCortez on Thu, 2013-12-05 20:06.

I found the way you have analyzed the protagonists emotions the way he has a connection with James, very interesting.I do agree with the topic that bullying is becoming increasingly brutal, but now a days its not so much physical, but psychological. James in this story is being taunted by his fellow classmates, but in the end before his death, he stands up, then jumps out the window...why? you state that it was because he was afraid of the response he would receive, the extra blows that would fall upon him. I think James was afraid of two things, and only accomplished to conquer one of those fears. He was afraid to speak, address the problem, but i could be wrong i haven't read the novel. However he did manage to stand up, it was the last thing he did, he in a way kept his pride and dignity. Your protagonist does feel a a connection with James, not only because he witnessed his suicide, but also as you stated went through similar problems. I think the problems are more those of depression, caved in walls.Sometimes we live in world with pain, torment,and as young adolescent we tend to always feel misunderstood, and utterly alone. It depends on the situation, of how deep the pit of loneliness and disdain is for someone. I agree we need to address the problem, but the most powerful weapon in either side are words. Words have the power to change one mind. All one must do is reverse those thoughts of anger, resentment, most bullies come out of their own bullied world, but i am not saying we should feel empathy towards them, just merely acknowledge that too. But in the end its our mind, souls and body we control, and no one else. The words that we say can be used for either good or evil, but it all depends on where you stand and what type of human you are.