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Queering in the Rye: Teaching The Catcher in the Rye as Queer Literature
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

J.D. Salinger’s seminal novel The Catcher in the Rye contains several scenes of sexual ambiguity which open up for queer readings of the novel. The first part of this essay will be a queering of the text, examining scenes of sexual ambiguity, and looking at the way masculinity is perceived and portrayed in the novel. This analysis argues that Holden’s issues stem from his protective nature not allowing him to perform masculinity in a normative fashion for the era, which the novel portrays as an oppressive form of masculinity that victimizes women and others who do not fit the role of a white, straight male.

The second part of the essay will look at why and how a queer reading of The Catcher in the Rye should be taught. The main point being that queer and other non-normative texts are often overlooked in classroom settings. This has real-world consequences for the non-normative individuals made invisible and silenced by this practice. There is a need for queer voices and texts in education. By engaging students in discussions about norms by relating normativity to the novel, one can draw attention to the way norms can restrict individuals, just as they might empower others. This can help students form their own critical ways of analysing literature in the future, as well as the way they perceive the world and people around them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 24
Keywords [en]
The Catcher in the Rye; queer literature; English language education; hegemonic masculinity
National Category
Specific Literatures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-159540OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-159540DiVA, id: diva2:1244546
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Available from: 2018-09-18 Created: 2018-09-02 Last updated: 2018-09-18Bibliographically approved

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