When J. D, Salinger died, did Holden Caulfield die too? Very sad to hear about the death of the reclusive J. D. Salinger today, just as I was to hear about the so-called 'sequel' attempt on 'The Catcher in the Rye' novel last year. Anyone else here wondering if Holden Caulfield is, in some way, dead now too?

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No, of course not. Literary characters never die, so long as there are readers to read their tales. Somewhere in the world, Achilles is dragging Hector's dead body behind his chariot. Hamlet is wondering whether he should live or die. Golum is trying to get that ring away from Frodo. And Holden Caulfield is getting kicked out of prep school and setting out on his exploits.

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I like to think that Holden is Salinger as I love autobiographical novels - I never read anything that is obviously complete fiction but that's just me. I find autobiographical works have a special quality to them. I'm sure the whole character/life is much more complex than that though.

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I didn't see any news accounts that reported that there are unpublished books that were left behind.  They reported only that there have been rumors of unpublished books for decades.  Did I miss something?

Also, how autobiographical do most of you consider Caulfield to be?

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From the news I understand that there are many unpublished books left behind.  So, who knows?  Perhaps Holden Caulfied could be in yet another novel hidden among the others.  J. D. Salinger may have been afraid to reveal his famous character again for fear that his privacy would again be made into a media circus.

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No, what I meant was whether we will ever see Holden grow up now, whether we will find out what happens to him, whether he marries, gets a fulfilling job or 'runs away' to hide out as a writer recluse. I suppose we all approach texts from a unique background of experiences, but as for me - well, I always lived in hopes of a sequel....

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J.D. Salinger's death moves The Catcher In The Rye from literary work to literary work and legacy. The experiences of Holden Caufield are read in most high school English classes every year, I do not think that will change. However, I think Salinger's passing could envoke a renewed discussion regarding his decision to never sell the rights of the book to the film industry. Although his opinion on the subject was clear... if you wanted to know Holden Caufield read the book. His perspective presents an interesting forum, think about it, Holden Caufield is born from the intuitive mind of J.D. Salinger. However, during Salinger's life he protected Holden's character from the intrusive public film industry by prohibiting a mass production of the novel and thus a mass interpretation of Holden. The Catcher In The Rye is a great American novel  because everyone who reads it sees it their way.

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No way.  Holden has lived with a vigorous thirst for life through Salinger's life as a recluse, and now that the author has passed, the novel itself will again be pushed to the forefront of readership.  There will be even more conspiracy theory movies which mention the title, and many more classrooms will be dusting off their sets of Catcher to invigorate future Salinger fans.

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Are you kidding?  Sales will soar now!  Salinger made the national news today.  Those who haven't read it will want to and those who have read it will buy whatever kind of commemorative edition the publishers come up with.  As far as a figurative death of some kind, what exactly are you thinking of?

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My short answer is no. The Catcher in the Rye has appealed to adolescents for decades, for precisely the reasons it will continue to do so for decades more. Salinger created a character that, for many, speaks beyond issues of class, race, time, place, and even gender (although my best friend was upset after reading it in high school, saying she was tired of boys' journeys). Although teens now have Ipods, Facebook, Twitter, texting, and whatever else to keep them busy, there's always a magical moment when one of my students reads The Catcher in the Rye for the first time. There's a search for identity there that most readers recognize, especially adolescents, and it doesn't seem to matter that Salinger's other books don't quite compare, or that there was never a "continuing saga of Holden Caulfield." For Holden Caulfield to die because Salinger is gone, would mean that any great works whose authors have died have now lost something essential. And I simply don;t think that's true. Great literature lives on-that's what makes it great.

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