Муниципальное бюджетное общеобразовательное учреждение города Керчи Республики Крым "Специализированная школа № 1 имени Володи Дубинина"

 







SALINGER

LESSONS 1-2

   Jerome David Salinger

 

J.D. Salinger's best-known work is The Catcher in the Rye (1951), a story about a rebellious teenage schoolboy and his quixotic experiences in New York. After gaining international fame with this novel, Salinger spent the rest of his life avoiding publicity. Though Salinger served in the U.S. Army in World War II and participated in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, 1944, only a few of his stories dealt directly or indirectly with the war.
"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though." (Holden Caulfied in The Catcher in the Rye)

Jerome David Salinger was born and grew up in the fashionable apartment district of Manhattan, New York. He was the son of Solomon Salinger, a prosperous Jewish importer of Kosher cheese, and Miriam, née Marie Jillich, his Scotch-Irish wife. In his childhood the young Jerome was called Sonny. The family had a beautiful apartment on Park Avenue. After restless studies in prep schools, he was sent to Valley Forge Military Academy (1934-36), which he attended briefly. His friends from this period remember his sarcastic wit. In 1937 when he was eighteen and nineteen, Salinger spent five months in Europe. From 1937 to 1938 he studied at Ursinus College and New York University. He fell in love with Oona O'Neill, wrote her letters almost daily, and was later shocked when she married Charles Chaplin, who was much older than she.

In 1939 Salinger took a class in short story writing at Columbia University under Whit Burnett, founder-editor of the Story Magazine. His first published story, entitled 'The Young Folks' appeared in the magazine when he was 21. During World War II he was drafted into the infantry and was involved in the invasion of Normandy, landing on Utah Beach on D-Day. Salinger's comrades considered him very brave, a genuine hero. While in Europe Salinger managed to write stories and meet Ernest Hemingway at the Ritz bar in Paris. He also fought in one of the bloodiest episodes of the war in Hürtgenwald, a useless battle, where over one fifth of the original regimental soldiers were left. Shortly after the Battle of Bulge, Salinger participated in the liberation of Dachau.

In his celebrated story 'For Esmé – With Love and Squalor' Salinger depicted a fatigued American soldier. He starts a correspondence with a thirteen-year-old British girl, which helps him to get a grip of life again. Salinger himself was hospitalized for stress in 1945. After serving in the Army Signal Corps and Counter-Intelligence Corps. He played poker with other aspiring writers, but was considered a sour character who won all the time. He considered Hemingway and Steinbeck second rate writers but praised Melville. In 1945 Salinger married a French woman named Sylvia – she was a doctor. They were later divorced and in 1955 Salinger married Claire Douglas, the daughter of the British art critic Robert Langton Douglas. The marriage ended in divorce in 1967, when Salinger's retreat into his private world and Zen Buddhism only increased.

Salinger's early short stories appeared in such magazines as Story, Saturday Evening Post and Esquire, and then in the New Yorker, which published almost all of his later texts. 'Slight Rebellion off Madison' (1946), narrated in the third person, marked the appearance of Holden Morrisey Caulfield. 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish' (1948) introduced Seymour Glass, who commits suicide with a pistol. It was the earliest reference to the Glass family, whose stories would go on to form the main corpus of his writing. The 'Glass cycle' continued in the collections Franny and Zooey (1961), Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters (1963) and Seymour: An Introduction (1963). Several of the stories are narrated by Buddy Glass. 'Hapworth 16, 1924' is written in the form of a letter from summer camp, in which the seven-year-old Seymour draws a portrait of him and his younger brother Buddy. "When I look back, listen back, over the half-dozen or slightly more original poets we've had in America, as well as the numerous talented eccentric poets and – in modern times, especially – the many gifted style deviates, I feel something close to a conviction that we have only three or four very nearly nonexpendable poets, and I think Seymour will eventually stand with those few." (from Seymour, An Introduction)

Twenty stories published in Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and the New Yorker between 1941 and 1948 appeared in a pirated edition in 1974, The Complete Uncollected Stories of J. D. Salinger (2 vols.). Many of them reflect Salinger's own service in the army. Later Salinger adopted Hindu-Buddhist influences. He became an ardent devotee of The Gospels of Sri Ramakrishna, a study of Hindu mysticism, which was translated into English by Swami Nikhilananda and Joseph Campbell.

Salinger's first novel, The Catcher in the Rye, became immediately a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and won huge international acclaim. It sells still some 250 000 copies annually. Salinger did not do much to help publicity, and asked that his photograph should not be used in connection with the book. Later he turned down requests for movie adaptations of the book.

The novel, written in a monologue and in lively slang, took its title from a line by Robert Burns, in which the protagonist Holden Caulfied misquoting it sees himself as a 'catcher in the rye' who must keep the world's children from falling off 'some crazy cliff'. The first reviews of the work were mixed, although most critics considered it brilliant. Its 16-year old restless hero – as Salinger was in his youth – runs away from school during his Christmas break to New York to find himself and lose his virginity. He spends an evening going to nightclubs, has an unsuccessful encounter with a prostitute, and the next day meets an old girlfriend. After getting drunk he sneaks home. Holden's former schoolteacher makes homosexual advances to him. He meets his sister to tell her that he is leaving home and has a nervous breakdown. The humor of the novel places it in the tradition of Mark Twain's classical works, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but its world-view is more disillusioned. Holden describes everything as 'phoney' and is constantly in search of sincerity. Holden represents the early hero of adolescent angst, but full of life, he is the great literary opposite of Goethe's young Werther.

From time to time rumors spread that Salinger will publish another novel, or that he is publishing his work under a pseudonym, perhaps such as Thomas Pynchon. "Yet a real artist, I've noticed, will survive anything. (Even praise, I happily suspect.)," Salinger wrote in Seymour – An Introduction. From the late 60's he avoided publicity. Journalists assumed, that because he didn't give interviews, he had something to hide. In 1961 Time Magazine sent a team of reporters to investigate his private life. "I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure," said Salinger in 1974 to a New York Times correspondent.

A ccording to Joyce Maynard, who was close to the author in the 1970s, Salinger continued to write alone in his study, but locked the pages into a safe. They met after he had seen her picture on the cover of the New York Times Magazine and read her essay 'An 18-Year-Old Looks Back.' Maynard received a letter from the author, and following an intense correspondence she moved in with him. Maynard, who suffered from anorexia, saw Salinger as her rescuer, and her destination. Salinger lived an austere life, he studied and practiced homeopathy, and ate sparingly, mainly raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and carefully cooked lamb patties. Together they watched television sitcoms, and practiced yoga and meditated. Salinger suddenly broke off their relationship. Years afterwards, Maynard wrote a novel entitled Baby Love (1981), about a young woman and her much older lover. Joseph Heller and Raymond Carver praised the work, but Salinger dismissed it as " piece of junk." At Home in the World (1998), Maynard's story of her relationship with Salinger, received mixed reviews. Before the publication of the book, Salinger had said, "I knew you would amount to this."

Ian Hamilton's unauthorized biography of Salinger was rewritten, when the author did not accept extensive quoting of his personal letters. The new version, In Search of J.D. Salinger, came in 1988. In 1992 a fire broke out in Salinger's Cornish house, but he managed to flee from the reporters who saw an opportunity to interview him. Since the late 80s Salinger was married to Colleen O'Neill. Salinger broke his silence through his lawyers in 2009, when they launceh a legal action to stop the publication of an unauthorised sequel to the Caulfield's story, entitled 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye released in Britain under the pseudonym John David California. The 33-year-old Swedish writer, Fredrik Colting, has earlier published humor books. Salinger died at his home on January 27, 2010.

 

TASK to the lessons 1-2

 

Task 1. Read and translate the text.
Task 2. Pick out new words in your vocabulary.
Task 3. Compose three sentences with as many new words as possible.

Task 4. Make a summary of David Salinger's Life in Chronological Order

 

LESSONS 3-4

   The Catcher in the Rye

   TO MY MOTHER

   1

   If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, an what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They’re nice and all—I’m not saying that—but they’re also touchy as hell. Besides, I’m notgoing to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything. I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy. I mean that’s all I told D.B. about, and he’s my brother and all. He’s in Hollywood. That isn’t too far from this crumby place, and he comes over and visits me practically every week end. He’s going to drive me home when I go home next month maybe. He just got a Jaguar. One of those little English jobs that can do around two hundred miles an hour. It cost him damn near four thousand bucks. He’s got a lot of dough, now. He didn’t use to. He used to be just a regular writer, when he was home. He wrote this terrific book of short stories, The Secret Goldfish, in case you never heard of him. The best one in it was “The Secret Goldfish.” It was about this little kid that wouldn’t let anybody look at his goldfish because he’d bought it with his own money. It killed me. Now he’s out in Hollywood, D.B., being a prostitute. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the movies. Don’t even mention them to me.

   Where I want to start telling is the day I left Pencey Prep. Pencey Prep is this school that’s in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. You probably heard of it. You’ve probably seen the ads, anyway. They advertise in about a thousand magazines, always showing some hotshot guy on a horse jumping over a fence. Like as if all you ever did at Pencey was play polo all the time. I never even once saw ahorse anywhere near the place. And underneath the guy on the horse’s picture, it always says: “Since 1888 we have been molding boys into splendid, clear-thinking young men.” Strictly for the birds. They don’t do any damn more molding at Pencey than they do at any other school. And I didn’t know anybody there that was splendid and clear-thinking and all. Maybe two guys. If that many. And they probably came to Pencey that way.

   Anyway, it was the Saturday of the football game with Saxon Hall. The game with Saxon Hall was supposed to be a very big deal around Pencey. It was the last game of the year, and you were supposed to commit suicide or something if old Pencey didn’t win. I remember around three o’clock that afternoon I was standing way the hell up on top of Thomsen Hill, right next to this crazy cannon that was in the Revolutionary War and all. You could see the whole field from there, and you could see the two teams bashing each other all over the place. You couldn’t see the grandstand too hot, but you could hear them all yelling, deep and terrific on the Pencey side, because practically the whole school except me was there, and scrawny and faggy on the Saxon Hall side, because the visiting team hardly ever brought many people with them.

   There were never many girls at all at the football games. Only seniors were allowed to bring girls with them. It was a terrible school, no matter how you looked at it. I like to be somewhere at least where you can see a few girls around once in a while, even if they’re only scratching their arms or blowing their noses or even just giggling or something. Old Selma Thurmer—she was the headmaster’s daughter—showed up at the games quite often, but she wasn’t exactly the type that drove you mad with desire. She was a pretty nice girl, though. I sat next to her once in the bus from Agerstown and we sort of struck up a conversation. I liked her. She had a big nose and her nails were all bitten down and bleedy-looking and she had on those damn falsies that point all over the place, but you felt sort of sorry for her. What I liked about her, she didn’t give you a lot of horse manure about what a great guy her father was. She probably knew what a phony slob he was.

   The reason I was standing way up on Thomsen Hill, instead of down at the game, was because I’d just got back from New York with the fencing team. I was the goddam manager of the fencing team. Very big deal. We’d gone in to New York that morning for this fencing meet with McBurney School. Only, we didn’t have the meet. I left all the foils and equipment and stuff on the goddam subway. It wasn’t all my fault. I had to keep getting up to look at this map, so we’d know where to get off. So we got back to Pencey around two-thirty instead of around dinnertime. The whole team ostracized me the whole way back on the train. It was pretty funny, in a way.

   The other reason I wasn’t down at the game was because I was on my way to say good-by to old Spencer, my history teacher. He had the grippe, and I figured I probably wouldn’t see him again till Christmas vacation started. He wrote me this note saying he wanted to see me before I went home. He knew I wasn’t coming back to Pencey.

   I forgot to tell you about that. They kicked me out. I wasn’t supposed to come back after Christmas vacation on account of I was flunking four subjects and not applying myself and all. They gave me frequent warning to start applying myself—especially around midterms, when my parents came up for a conference with old Thurmer—but I didn’t do it. So Igot the ax. They give guys the ax quite frequently at Pencey. It has a very good academic rating, Pencey. It really does.

   Anyway, it was December and all, and it was cold as a witch’s teat, especially on top of that stupid hill. I only had on my reversible and no gloves or anything. The week before that, somebody’d stolen my camel’s-hair coat right out of my room, with my fur-lined gloves right in the pocket and all. Pencey was full of crooks. Quite a few guys came fromthese very wealthy families, but it was full of crooks anyway. The more expensive a school is, the more crooks it has—I’m not kidding. Anyway, I kept standing next to that crazy cannon, looking down at the game and freezing my ass off. Only, I wasn’t watching the game too much. What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-by or a bad goodby, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.

   I was lucky. All of a sudden I thought of something that helped make me know I was getting the hell out. I suddenly remembered this time, in around October, that I and Robert Tichener and Paul Campbell were chucking a football around, in front of the academic building. They were nice guys, especially Tichener. It was just before dinner and it was getting pretty dark out, but we kept chucking the ball around anyway. It kept getting darker and darker, and we could hardly see the ball any more, but we didn’t want to stop doing what we were doing. Finally we had to. This teacher that taught biology, Mr. Zambesi, stuck his head out of this window in the academic building and told us to go back to the dorm and get ready for dinner. If I get a chance to remember that kind of stuff, I can get a good-bywhen I need one—at least, most of the time I can. As soon as I got it, I turned around and started running down the other side of the hill, toward old Spencer’s house. He didn’t live on the campus. He lived on Anthony Wayne Avenue.

   I ran all the way to the main gate, and then I waited a second till I got my breath. I have no wind, if you want to know the truth. I’m quite a heavy smoker, for one thing—that is, I used to be. They made me cut it out. Another thing, I grew six and a half inches last year. That’s also how I practically got t.b. and came out here for all these goddam checkups and stuff. I’m pretty healthy, though.

   Anyway, as soon as I got my breath back I ran across Route 204. It was icy as hell and I damn near fell down. I don’t even know what I was running for—I guess I just felt like it. After I got across the road, I felt like I was sort of disappearing. It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.

   Boy, I rang that doorbell fast when I got to old Spencer’s house. I was really frozen. My ears were hurting and I could hardly move my fingers at all. “C’mon, c’mon,” I said right out loud, almost, “somebody open the door.” Finally old Mrs. Spencer opened it. They didn’t have a maid or anything, and they always opened the door themselves. They didn’t have too much dough.

   “Holden!” Mrs. Spencer said. “How lovely to see you! Come in, dear! Are you frozen to death?” I think she was glad to see me. She liked me. At least, I think she did.

   Boy, did I get in that house fast.“How are you, Mrs. Spencer?” I said. “How’s Mr. Spencer?”

   “Let me take your coat, dear,” she said. She didn’t hear me ask her how Mr. Spencer was. She was sort of deaf.

   She hung up my coat in the hall closet, and I sort of brushed my hair back with my hand. I wear a crew cut quite frequently and I never have to comb it much.“How’ve you been, Mrs. Spencer?” I said again, only louder, so she’d hear me.

   “I’ve been just fine, Holden.” She closed the closet door. “How have you been?” The way she asked me, I knew right away old Spencer’d told her I’d been kicked out.

   “Fine,” I said. “How’s Mr. Spencer? He over his grippe yet?”

   “Over it! Holden, he’s behaving like a perfect—I don’t know what… He’s in his room, dear. Go right in.”

 

TASKS to LESSONS 3-4

 

Task 1. Read and translate the text.

Task 2. Pick out new words in your vocabulary.

Task 3 Compose a sentence with as many new words as possible.

Task 4.  Summarize the text in five sentences.

Task 5. In what way does the story begin? Is the reader’s interest awakened at once? If so, how does the author achieve it?

Task 6. From whose point of view is the story told?