By Brendan Cox
Hotel California by The Eagles
"Last thing I remember, I was running for the door, I had to find the passage back, to the place I was before". Firstly I would like to address the physical connection between this song and the book. When Holden "got to the Edmont Hotel, and [he] checked in"(61). Both take place in a hotel. However, I feel the real connection comes from the meaning of the song. Hotel California is a song about a man who is haunted by the ghosts of all the people he lost to addiction, and his disconnect from reality. During this part of the book it is very plain to see the disconnect that Holden has with the world, especially when Holden is beaten up by Maurice, the elevator boy. Holden pretends that he was in a movie and was "pretending he had a bullet in [his] guts"(104). Holden, just like the singer of Hotel California, feels lost and haunted by his past, which causes his disconnect.
Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day
"My shadow's the only one that walks beside me... Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me". When looking at this song I can't help but think of the climax of Catcher in the Rye. When Holden was crossing streets he "had this feeling that [he'd] never get to the other side of the street" (197). I feel that the "shadow" that walks beside Holden is his dead brother, Allie. At this time in the story Holden feels more alone than ever, and is begging the shadow of his brother to not "let [him] disappear" (198). Holden at this time in the story really feels that he walks alone.
What is Life? by George Harrison
"What is life without your love? Tell, me who am I without you by my side?". This quote from George Harrison's What is Life? works perfectly with the Carousel scene from Catcher in the Rye. In the song George talks about how he doesn't know what life is to him without the girl he is singing to. At the end of chapter 25, Holden "felt so damn happy all of a sudden, [as] Phoebe kept going around and around" the carousel. It was at that moment that I feel that Holden discovered similarly to George what his life would be like without his little sister. Holden doesn't know who he would be without Phoebe by his side.
Who Wrote Holden Caulfield by Green Day
"There's a boy who fogs his world and now he's getting lazy. There's no motivation and frustration makes him crazy. He makes a plan to take a stand but always ends up sitting". For this quote I don't have a specific scene to focus my efforts, but I feel that this song completely reflects Holden's character and what he goes through in the novel (Maybe because it has his name in it). For the boy who's "biggest reason [he] left Elkton Hills was because [he] was surrounded by phonies" (13), I'd say the song does a good job of tying him together. Holden just as the song suggests, is tired of dealing with all the phoniness in the world. However, he never takes a stand on anything, and just gets more frustrated when he doesn't.
Wake Up by Arcade Fire
This song by Arcade Fire really touches on the loss of innocence and growing up which is also a major theme presented in Catcher in the Rye. "Children don't grown up. Our bodies get bigger, but our hearts get torn up." This thought directly correlates to Holden's thoughts while at the Museum of Natural History. "Certain things should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway". Holden feels like he needs the be the catcher of childhood innocence and that he needs to protect them from adulthood. Arcade fire sings for the same purpose.