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All in all, Jonathan Delano Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” is a volume of enormous import to American literature. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of English Words defines “catcher” as, “someone or something that catches something,” while it defines “rye” as, “a hardy annual grass that is widely grown for grain and as a cover crop.” But that is not the novel’s only point of contrast! Indeed, “The Catcher and the Rye” is a puzzle — a pile of amorphous cardboard pieces that through determined study you may put together (assuming, of course, there is a way to fit all of the pieces together). But puzzles — like people, like life — are not meant to be solved. They intrigue. They inspire. They are meaningless diversions. “Life is a game, boy,” Spencer says — for games are more fun than puzzles. And were he honest he would add, “Welcome to the games! Be merry, be miserable, take heart or lose it. Get drunk, make mistakes. Work hard, race the rats. Everything and nothing is here for your enjoyment. Everything and nothing is here to leave you broken and battered and utterly destroyed. Have fun or hate it. There are no winners. There are no losers. The only perfection lies beyond in the perfect comfort of nothingness or in sacred, holy light. Let the games begin! May the odds be ever in your favor.” And I know you aren’t going to read any further than this, Mrs. Smith, so the rest of this paper is just going to be an annotated copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s “36 Chambers”.

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