The Plight of Innocence and of Growing Up

This 1951 copy of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is one of 88 books on display as part of the Library of Congress'

This 1951 copy of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is one of 88 books on display as part of the Library of Congress’ “Books That Shaped America” exhibit.

**Warning: contains spoilers and analysis of Catcher in the Rye, Gatsby, Grapes of Wrath, and Scarlet Letter.

Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of the Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, is often seen by teenagers as brooding and whiny.  But are Holden’s views really wrong?  He speaks about things that people see, or should see but don’t want to acknowledge or analyze in further depth– the sad truths of our society.  Although he doesn’t analyze his sadness in detail, he speaks of sadness when he has Sunny, a stripper, in his room.  He sees her green dress, green usually the color of youth and innocence, and Sunny herself, who Holden states does not seem much older than himself.  Another incident is when he recounts the story of Dick Slagle, a former student of Elkton Hills, obsessed and blinded by material wealth.  Slagle wants to appear wealthy and puts Holden’s suitcases on the rack when people are over to insinuate that he has wealth.  In truth, Slagle is ashamed by his own possessions that are “lesser” when compared to Holden’s.  Slagle is an example of a character who doesn’t mean what he says; he is clearly in envy of Holden’s belongings as shown by his actions and motives, yet brushes it off as “bourgeois” to appear nonchalant about the topic.  Seeing this contradiction, Holden laments the behavior and sites it as something that made him sad and a bit frustrated– the shallowness and addiction people have with status (which unfortunately very much applies today).

Connecting back to previous literary work we have analyzed in AP English Language and Composition, Holden is like the narrator of The Grapes of Wrath, insightful and saddened by society.  Similar to the universality of Grapes of Wrath, Holden stereotypes a majority of the people he meets into the categories: people who are corrupt, shallow, and apathetic and the innocent children.  In the Grapes of Wrath, the narrator’s obvious bias and tone (slightly discussed in a few posts of the past, Click, Click. Are we Machine or Are We Human? and We are President Snow), pit the audience against the “machine.”  The “intangible idea” that runs society.  A system created by humans, that is now out of man’s control.  Similarly, Holden depicts a world generally apathetic to a teenager struggling to accept the real world and its realities.  Practically nobody [insert Odyssey joke here *cue Polyphemus’ rage*] listens to the things Holden wants, bordering needs, the answers to.  Children shun him because he is too “old” to play with them, while adults disregard him because they don’t share his curiosity and are fixated with society, the blind and busy population solely focused on finances.  Ironically, Holden is obsessed with the concept of preserving the innocence of children; being the “catcher in the rye,” the force pulling kids away from the edge as they are oblivious to the drop below– the drop into cold, harsh reality.  And like how Gatsby is obsessed with turning back time five years.  Although it is worth noting that Holden is able to ratify his views at the end, whereas Gatsby, unable to change and accept, is led to his watery death.  It is as though Holden, still much like a child, has a second chance at life.  Gatsby, a full-fledged adult, does not get this opportunity. Continue reading


A Lesson in Ethos: Vicki

Come check out my new blogging project: High School/College Advice!

Niche Of A Nerd

Dear reader,

This blog post has serves to establish credibility and introduce myself as a writer. So if you’re here simply for advice, I acknowledge that this is entirely skippable.

My name is Victoria (Vicki) Lee and I am currently a junior at Fountain Valley High School.  My current life goal is to attend UCLA, UCI, or UCSD. At UCI and UCSD, I aspire studying biomedical engineering, or BME.  At UCLA, I aim to enter their biochemistry program.  As of now, I am in the top 2% of my graduating class (not going to disclose which exact rank I am…).

The reasons behind the creation of this blog are simple: to guide students based on my personal experience and to give others advice I wish I had.  I know how difficult it is for some people find where to even start.  So, I hope that this blog will give you…

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Exam Crunch Time. Just Breathe. You Can Do It.

You can do it! I believe in you!

Come Down The Rabbit Hole


Dear all stressing about things like AP exams, MCAT’s, the future, extracurricular, or some other real-world difficulties,

You can do it.  I may not know you.  But, believe you can if you set your mind to it.  But first and foremost, take care of your own body and mind.  Testing beings soon, don’t crash and don’t give up; the finish line is just a few bounds away– hang on a bit more.  Don’t let the negative thoughts overcome your mind; once frustration sets in, the negative thoughts will affect your performance and make everything harder.  Take a break, breathe, meditate, or try distracting yourself by setting a timer for 5-10 minutes and reading part of your favorite book, poem, or just something you find interesting.  For music-oriented people, pick up your instrument and play something you love until the timer signals the end of the break.  Or for those…

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Click, Click. Are we Machine or Are we Human?

Some really deep thoughts of mine I’d appreciate if you check out. If you liked it, check out “We are President Snow” and pretty much ALL of my blogging partners’ posts! They’re amazing.

Come Down The Rabbit Hole

3249292348_5bb5cf7877_bI was planning on drawing again, but then I wandered upon this beauty by Flickr user Tobias Higbie.

Although I indirectly blogged about it last week, I didn’t make it quite clear.  Mr. John Steinbeck couldn’t have hit the nail on the head with the shocking claim that man created an intangible machine, an idea.  More or less, it’s the idea of a hierarchy and the concept that humans are replaceable; a mindset, I would like to point out, that may have been catalyzed by the Ford assembly line: faster, more efficient, one job, quicker, do it better, one task, another can easily take your place, work harder, better, “rinse, wash, and repeat.”  And what sprung forth from that idea was an unfeeling, uncaring, and selfish society.  I stated that “We are President Snow” referencing this machine, or rather one of the effects its had on us–…

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Impossibility of Opinion

Come Down The Rabbit Hole

Welcome to the 21st century.  You have many freedoms and rights– just don’t cross the line and offend anyone.  Why you ask?  Because society has a mindset that everyone is entitled to express an opinion, no matter how little thought they put in or how superficial and unrelated it is.  So no matter how objective you try to be or how unoffensive you strive to be, someone somewhere will roll their eyeballs and strike down your opinion on the basis of “malicious intentions.”

3280622749_5bda7d59aa_bThis picture titled “Internet’s universe” is by Flickr user CLUC.  I take no credit for this!!

As of late, I have been dedicating about an hour and a half researching gender-related issues.  In an Op-Ed post by Emma Pierson to the New York Times titled “How to Get More Women to Join the Debate” she asserts that her research on the topic of gender-bias has…

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Mentalities– To Care Or Not To Care

One of my blog post/rants I feel strongly about, posted on my shared blog.

Come Down The Rabbit Hole

Recently, there have been countless incidents where I find myself questioning why people act the way the do, in fact I wrote an essay on it (it will be published later, I’ll keep y’alls posted).  The case I’m going to focus on in this post is how women are treated.  Of course, I know there are women in this world who shouldn’t treat men the way they do.  But I’m a girl, so I’m going to talk about my personal experiences and point of view.  Now before I start, I’m definitely biased.  I’ve grown up with the mentality in the novels I read, the people I choose to surround myself with, and the people I look up to that women can be independent.  That they should be treated with the same respect as men should.  That successful societies and sustainable civilizations are run on women receiving education and working…

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Problem with Creativity and Projects.

Over winter break, I had a project to make a scrap book detailing specific events and experiences people suffered through in the Great Depression.  I was not quite thrilled to have a project in regular United States history in addition to a bunch of other homework my AP teachers piled on me (then again, as much as I want to complain… I signed up for it all…).  It was one of the last things on my to-do list.  IMG_8668

When I got to it, I was pumped up and thought about making it something special.  Something that was unique and format it in a way I have never done in a project before– create my own background collages, layer more foreground pictures, find pictures all from SPECIFIC states, and use a variety of colors (mostly varied shades browns, green, and black because I was going for the antique look) and fancy text.  The pictures themselves and the facts I included took about four to five hours. What. Continue reading