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Friday, October 4, 2013

The Wildcat in the Rye Experience

The following was written by Maria MacGeary, a student in one Prof. Jody Ross' fall classes, who attended the Catcher event.

More than seventy-five students gathered in the common room of Good Counsel on October 3rd to participate in a reading and discussion of J.D. Salinger's timeless novel, The Catcher in the Rye. The crowd spread across chairs and floorspace, even overflowing into the balcony above, to be a part of this event put on by the Villanova English Department.
Prof. Kamran Javadizadeh addressing the gathering. 
Professor Kamran Javadizadeh opened the evening with a short reading in which the novel's main character, Holden Caulfield, visits a museum. Reading The Catcher in the Rye again and again, according to Javadizadeh, is much like Holden's description of visiting the same museum displays; they remain unchanging, the same as always, despite the constant change experienced by the visitor. Each visit, each reading, offers opportunity for new interpretation, new perspective.

Following this brief introduction, the floor was handed to the six readers, students representing the Villanova English Department. The lectors alternated, reading chapter thirteen of the novel, one of the more provocative scenes in which Holden interacts with a prostitute in his hotel room.
The reading.
After the reading, the student leaders organized the crowd into discussion groups, posing questions about Holden as a character, symbolism, thematic elements, and Salinger's writing style.  Junior English major Emily Crooker, a lover of Salinger, told her group that the best thing about The Catcher in the Rye is the discovery of “a new meaning with every reading, whenever you return to it.”
Group discussion.
Crooker also said that the Department hopes to host more of these events in the future, discussing novels with widespread influence, such as The Great Gatsby. The intention is to make English more accessible to freshman, as well as promote information about the English Department and Major at Villanova.
Freshman Julie Piscina's copy of Catcher, which she has read more than 20 times!