Tuesday, January 5, 2016

This Is A People Shooting Hat

"This is a people shooting hat," I said.  "I shoot people in this hat."
~Holden in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

My first piece in 2016, This Is A People Shooting Hat, was inspired by the book The Catcher In the Rye by J.D. Salinger. As a teen, I read the book in high school and always held it to be one of my favorite books of all time. Over time, my memory of the plot details has faded so, not only did I need a refresher of the story line and also I wanted a fresh perspective of the literary themes by reading it as an adult.

I just finished reading the book The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope (Book 1 of my 20 book goal I set for myself in 2016) and my junior-in-high-school daughter was getting ready to start reading Catcher for a literary analysis paper. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to reread the book and share my thoughts with my daughter as we read it together. In Chapter 3 the main character, Holden, has a verbal exchange with one of his classmates about his red hunting hat that he wears. During that exchange, he says the quote above, and it struck a chord with me. Many who have not read the book may take offense to this quote considering all the shootings that have occurred in this country of late, but this quote should not be taken at face value. Holden never shoots anyone in the book and it is merely a glimpse into the cynical mind of a young man who is struggling on the edge of manhood, trying to negotiate becoming mature and independent while still retaining the truthfulness he perceives that comes with youth.  To grow up or not to grow up, that is the question.

While Holden never physically shoots anyone, he does "shoot" them with the internal dialog in his brian. He can't stand grown-ups and his disdain for them is quite apparent throughout the book. I was inspired on many symbolic levels to create an image that portrays his internal struggle between youth and manhood.  See if you can find the symbolism and the visual irony I have at play here.

I hope you enjoy This Is a People Shooting Hat and if you haven't read this incredible novel, I suggest you do. Watching my daughter analyze it in context of the political, social, and artistic climate of the time, is both exciting and inspiring. I am glad I have the opportunity to reread one of my favorites while sharing it with my daughter.

Hugs.  xo

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