Catcher in the Rye…do I even have to explain this? Cool cover art aside, Holden Caulfield is the proto-hipster (no offense to any hipsters in my audience, but seriously, this guy makes y'all look pretty bad). He doesn’t stand for anything. He doesn’t care about anything. He knows nothing about the world he lives in, and he drifts through it with a complete lack of motivation to do anything but take up space and smoke cigarettes. Just having to spend an entire book (albeit a fairly slim book) riding around in his head pissed me off so much, I had to go have a lie-down. I have a hard time putting up with useless, apathetic people. Especially when I have to write papers about them.
The Red Badge of Courage…funnily enough, for all this story was about a Civil War soldier (Confederate side, I think?), it had basically the same problem! The whole time, our protagonist is all “Do I desert? Do I stay? I hate everything. Let me ponder my place in the universe. Should I desert?” Good God. He’s as bad as Hamlet, but whinier and not nearly as well-spoken. The only reason I even remember anything about this story (despite the stupid reflection paper I had to write about it – sorry Mom, but it was super-lame) is because they did an episode of Wishbone on it, and even an adorable talking Jack Russel terrier couldn't make it a good story.
Please, somebody tell me – does anyone actually like these books? And if so, WHY?