The Catcher in the Rye - That The Novel Justifies the Murder of John Lennon
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The Catcher in the Rye: Essay By James Hogan, 9S On the evening of December 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman calmly approached John Lennon outside of his apartment, pulled out a gun and fired five steady shots, four of which hit their mark. As the former Beatle, semi-conscious, lay on the ground haemorrhaging, Chapman pulled out his copy of The Catcher in the Rye and began to read. He later explained that he saw himself as an incarnation of the novel's main character, Holden Caulfield. On the inside cover, below the inscription, "This is my statement," Chapman signed the name Holden Caulfield. Chapman has claimed that his reasons and justification for the murder were contained in the book. This essay will prove that justification for the murder can be derived from the novel and the themes within. First, Holden's criticism towards what he refers to as "phonies" is a recurring theme throughout the book. Holden uses the broad term "phoniness" to describe the superficiality, hypocrisy, pretension, and shallowness that he encounters.
He felt that he had to protect people from being influenced by what he believed to be the living of a lie. Lennon had to be removed. Second, Holden's want for the past and a state of permanence were an influence to Chapman. Holden's want to maintain the past is shown throughout the book. A prominent example of this happens at the Museum of National History. It is there that he explains why he is attracted to the museum. Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone... (Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye). Shortly after the break-up of The Beatles, who Chapman loved, Lennon became a peace activist and transformed into a phony. This change into a phony meant that the time when the music was solely for the people had gone. His music had lost that carefree purity that Chapman loved, and had changed.
In conclusion, we can see that elements from the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, reflect upon Lennon and Chapman. We can see that Chapman saw himself as the next Holden Caulfield, and that he saw qualities within Lennon that made him a danger. Lennon's hypocritical lifestyle displayed him as a phony, and his changes into the world of "phoniness" and superficiality showed that Holden's own want for nothing to change and for the world to remain simple was false. His music was popular with children, and Chapman would have believed that the children who enjoyed were in fact being corrupted by the very aspects of Lennon that he came to loathe. These aspects of Lennon were the very qualities that Holden hated, and therefore Chapman hated. In doing this, Chapman was being the next catcher in the rye. Because of all of this, we can see that justification for the murder can be derived from the novel and elements within it. Word Count of Main Text: 1037
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