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Commentary to Text Transformation of Catcher in the Rye and Girl Interrupted

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Commentary My text transformation is a collage from the novels 'Catcher in the Rye' by J.D. Salinger and 'Girl Interrupted' by Susanna Kaysen. The case studies of the two protagonists in the novels, Holden Caulfield and Susanna Kaysen, created the base of my text and I incorporated them into a Children in Need style television appeal. My transformation is for the charity YoungMinds which is dedicated to creating better conditions for youths with a mental health disorder and widening awareness of the illness and therefore reducing prejudice against it. 'Catcher in the Rye' is a controversial novel which follows the story of Holden Caulfield who reflects on the time running up to his nervous breakdown. The controversy attached to the novel demonstrates the stigma of mental health and the attitudes people hold against those with mental health issues. The time frame is only seven days but the memories he divulges to the reader span his seventeen years and give the reader an insight into his mental health problems that have developed over his life. 'Girl Interrupted' is a true story of Susanna Kayson's eighteen month spell in a mental hospital and in it she describes the workings and mismanagement of the hospital and its patients. Although autobiographical, it is written as a novel. 'Catcher in the Rye' is also classified as a novel but there is an element of autobiographical writing from Salinger as he had also attended a number of different boarding schools as a teenager. ...read more.


He got leukaemia, he was only 11, poor guy.' The idiolect of Holden was important to capture as it is so distinctive. I used a few direct quote such as the example above and adopted some of his catchphrases, for example he commonly used the mild expletives, 'for Chrissake' and 'Goddam' in place of alternative adjectives. I used short sentences that displayed his urgency in articulating his thoughts in his mind into words and speech. My piece opens with stage instructions in italics of the television studio set such as, 'live audience, lively atmosphere, colourful and exciting backdrops'. This is done to make the reader immediately aware of the setting of the piece and puts it into a context that likens the appeal to 'Children in Need' or 'Red Nose Day'. I chose to use 'happy children and families' to help rid the piece from the negative connotations that are attached to mental health issues and face the issue from the outset of the piece. We join the appeal after a commercial break and are welcomed into the topic by a presenter, who would be a well known figure or celebrity, perhaps one who has a connection with mental health issues such as Steven Fry or Kerry Katona who both suffer from Bipolar disorder. The title of the appeal "Young Minds Matter" is in inverted commas to show it is the title and the lexis used create a memorable catchphrase that is poignant and meaningful. ...read more.


'Weapon' and 'fatal', which carry negative connotations in a semantic field of violence and damage also highlight the importance of action being taken because of the rapidity of how mental illness can develop. They then switch back to factual information about suicide backing up the importance in the cause and giving an example of how financial backing helps the charity. Stage directions, in italics, are used as a means of explaining the change of scene where Holden is sitting in a park and responds to questions from and an unseen and unheard interviewer. I chose to do this to keep away from the exchange being too fragmented. Having read the book a few times and it being written with him as narrator I was aware that Holden's idiolect is a definitive feature of his character and that I had to incorporate this into my piece. For example his use of 'phony' epitomises his view on society in the novel and is used in my piece to describe how he felt about his past schools and teachers. There is a succinct history to his past and brief reference to particular, significant points in the book such as his encounters in the 'Lavender Room' with older women with a prostitute named 'Sunny' in his hotel, ('I moved from hotel bar to street corner and met people that made my skin crawl. ...read more.

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