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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Shock and Awe with J.D. Salinger

One of my favorite times of the year is now, when I get to teach The Catcher in the Rye. My sophomores love it, I get to swear a lot, they don't complain about reading every night, and they actually discuss the hell out of it. What I don't love is how old it makes me feel. Here are the words I have already had to explain thus far, and we are only on Chapter 9:

David Copperfield: They think it's the magician; I have to tell them about the Dickens character.
rocks: They think Ernie Morrow's mom is a cocaine fiend rather than a diamond junkie.
give the time to: They think it's odd Holden is upset about telling someone the hour of the day;I love the look on their faces when they finally figure out it's a euphemism for sex.
falsies: They always think it's fake fingernails rather than padding for a bra.
grippe: They have absolutely no idea what this is.
traveling incognito: They have no reference for this whatsoever.

Today, we discussed the chapter wherein Holden decides to call up Faith Cavendish, the girl "who doesn't mind doing it once in a while". I started discussion by saying that Holden, after viewing the goings-on in the seedy hotel, was starting to feel horny. Suddenly, I noticed that there was a side conversation going on at my right. I turned around and said, "What's up over here?" A few of the boys looked a little sheepish. A girl near them was grinning. I waited, smiling. "What? Come on!" One of the boys piped up, "Mrs. D., it's just that...well,...when you say that word..." I was puzzled. "What word?" I asked. He reddened. I knew instantly. "HORNY? You think it sounds odd to hear me say HORNY?" He and a few other boys ducked their heads. Several students laughed.

One boy said, "I didn't think they used that word BACK THEN."

>SIGH<

They are so young.

But it's nice to know that I can freak 'em out just by saying "horny." Wait till further on in the book. I think I'll read a few later chapters out loud, just so they can hear me say "fuck."

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