Connections between Catcher and the Rye and song lyrics Belle42, Yippyeiyo, Lihsapen, picassomoon

Catcher in the Rye by Guns & Roses

When all is said and done
We’re not the only ones
Who look at life this way
That’s what the old folks say
But every time I’d see them
Makes me wish I had a gun

If I thought that I was crazy
Well I guess I’d have more fun
Guess I’d have more fun

the Catcher in the Rye again
won’t let ya get away from his gun
It’s just another day like today

You decide
If I don’t have to
Then they’ll find
And I won’t ask you
At anytime
Or long thereafter
If it’s cold outside
I’ll be wrapped up in
into me


the Catcher in the Rye again
won’t let ya get away from his gun
It’s just another day like today

When all is said and done
We’re not the only ones
Who look at life this way
That’s what the young folks say
As if they’d ever change
That’s not whom I to say
But every time I’d see them
Makes me wish I had a gun
If I thought that I was crazy
Well I guess I’d have more fun
It’s what used to be’s not there for me
And ought to find someone that belongs insane like I do

Oh no
Not at all (repeat)

On an ordinary day
Not in an ordinary way
All at once the song I heard
No longer wouldn’t play for anybody
Or anyone
That needed comfort from somebody
Needed comfort from someone who cared
To be
Not like you
And Unlike me
And then then voices ran away
From me
So now you set the wheels in motion
It Haunts our memories
You were the instrument
You were the one
How a body tipped a bottle
And Gave that boy a gun
You Took our innocence
Beyond our scabs
Sometimes the only thing
You got at all
When no one else is there

Analysis by Belle42

There are numerous connections between the novel Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and the song “Catcher in the Rye” by Guns and Roses which can explain how the book has inspired the song. In the first verse of the song, the artist is describing the character in the song as discontent towards elderly people. The character takes the advice from his elders, however, he chooses not to follow their suggestions. This part of the song relates to the opening chapter of the novel when Holden Caulfield visits his history teacher Old Spencer. When Holden sees him, he only notices his teacher’s bumpy chest and his scrawny legs. The advice that Old Spencer is giving to Holden at the time seems trivial to the descriptions that Holden is giving. Also, in the song there are many references to the usage of guns. For the character in the book, a gun will help them escape their problems and aggravation. Throughout the book Holden uses the phrases “it kills me,” and he also contemplates suicide. These negative thoughts that Holden has are in response to behaviors and actions that Holden disapproves of. I think that lyrics portray many important themes in the novel, but if I could make any additions or modifications to the song, I would include words such as “moron” and “goddamnit”, and I would demonstrate the deliberations that Holden has with himself. This could be illustrated by adding words like “never mind” or “maybe”. Although there are changes that could be made to this song, I think that Guns & Roses was successful in creating a song based on the novel Catcher in the Rye.


Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies
Sometimes I try to do things and it just doesn’t work out the way I wanted to. I get real frustrated and I try hard to do it and I take my time and it doesn’t work out the way I wanted to.
It’s like I concentrate real hard and it doesn’t work out
Everything I do and everything I try never turns out
It’s like I need time to figure these things out
But there’s always someone there going

Hey Mike:
You know we’ve been noticing you’ve been having a lot of problems lately.
You know, maybe you should get away and maybe you should talk about it, maybe you’ll feel a lot better

And I go:
No it’s okay, you know I’ll figure it out, just leave me alone I’ll figure it out. You know I’ll just work by myself.

And they go:
Well you know if you want to talk about it I’ll be here you know and you’ll probably feel a lot better if you talk about it.

And I go:
No I don’t want to I’m okay, I’ll figure it out myself and they just keep bugging me and they just keep bugging me and it builds up inside and it builds up inside.

So you’re gonna be institutionalized
You’ll come out brainwashed with bloodshot eyes
You won’t have any say
They’ll brainwash you until you see their way.


I’m not crazy – in an institution
You’re the one who’s crazy – in an institution
You’re driving me crazy – in an institution

They stuck me in an institution
Said it was the only solution
To give me the needed professional help
To protect me from the enemy, myself

I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everything
But then again I was thinking about nothing
And then my mom came in and I didn’t even know she was there she called my name
And I didn’t even hear it, and then she started screaming: MIKE! MIKE!
And I go:
What, what’s the matter
And she goes:
What’s the matter with you?
I go:
There’s nothing-wrong mom.
And she goes:
Don’t tell me that, you’re on drugs!
And I go:
No mom I’m not on drugs I’m okay, I was just thinking you know, why don’t you get me a Pepsi.
And she goes:
NO you’re on drugs!
I go:
Mom I’m okay, I’m just thinking.
She goes:
No you’re not thinking, you’re on drugs! Normal people don’t act that way!
I go:
Mom just give me a Pepsi please
All I want is a Pepsi, and she wouldn’t give it to me
All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn’t give it to me.
Just a Pepsi.They give you a white shirt with long sleeves
Tied around you’re back, you’re treated like thieves
Drug you up because they’re lazy
It’s too much work to help a crazy


They stuck me in an institution
Said it was the only solution
To give me the needed professional help
To protect me from the enemy, myselfI was sitting in my room and my mom and my dad came in and they pulled up a chair and they sat down, they go:
Mike, we need to talk to you
And I go:
Okay what’s the matter
They go:
Me and your mom have been noticing lately that you’ve been having a lot of problems,
You’ve been going off for no reason and we’re afraid you’re gonna hurt somebody,
We’re afraid you’re gonna hurt yourself.
So we decided that it would be in your interest if we put you somewhere
Where you could get the help that you need.
And I go:
Wait, what do you mean, what are you talking about, we decided!?
My best interest?! How can you know what’s my best interest is?
How can you say what my best interest is? What are you trying to say, I’m crazy?
When I went to your schools, I went to your churches,
I went to your institutional learning facilities?! So how can you say I’m crazy.

They say they’re gonna fix my brain
Alleviate my suffering and my pain
But by the time they fix my head
Mentally I’ll be dead


They stuck me in an institution
Said it was the only solution
To give me the needed professional help
To protect me from the enemy, myself

It doesn’t matter I’ll probably get hit by a car anyway

Analysis by Yippyeiyo

The song Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies is narrated from the point of view of a Teenager, Mike who I shaving a lot of problems. Many of the things that Mike goes through in the song are similar to some of the things that Holden Caulfield goes through in The Catcher in the Rye. Both of these teenagers have an internal conflict. In the beginning of the novel Holden had been kicked out of school and one of his teachers, Old Spencer, asked him to come by his house to say goodbye. When Holden goes to visit Old Spencer, Old Spencer gives him a lecture about how he should have tried harder in school and in his life. This lecture is the last thing Holden wanted and he describes ho all he wanted to do was leave instead of listen to Old Spencer. In the song Mike’s friends offer him help persistently. He does not want advice or help from them just like Holden does not want help or advice from Old Spencer. Both characters would rather figure out things on their own and are irritated that some people think that they need help. Also in the novel it is apparent that Holden has some problems with his parents but exactly why is unknown for the present. Mike in the song has conflicts with his parents because they think that he needs help but Mike says that if he needs help it is their fault in the first place. Whether this is also the case with Holden remains to be seen. Both Mike and Holden have problems that they need to correct. But for these problems to be corrected they need to figure things out for themselves because it is not something others can relate to or fix, even if they try.


“Agony” from Into the Woods

Did I abuse her
Or show her disdain?
Why does she run from me?
If I should lose her,
How shall I regain
The heart she has won from me?Agony!
Beyond power of speech,
When the one thing you want
Is the only thing out of your reach.

High in her tower,
She sits by the hour,
Maintaining her hair.
Blithe and becoming and frequently humming
A lighthearted air:
Far more painful than yours,
When you know she would go with you
If there only were doors.

Oh, the torture they teach!

What’s as intriguing-

Or half so fatiguing-

As what’s out of reach?

Am I not sensitive,
As kind as I’m handsome
And heir to a throne?

You are everything maidens could wish for!

Then why no-?

Do I know?

The girl must be mad!

You know nothing of madness
Till you’re climbing her hair
And you see her up there
AS you’re nearing her,
All the while hearing her:




Though it’s different for each.

Always ten steps behind-

Always ten feet below-

And she’s just out of reach.
That can cut like a knife!

I must have her to wife.

Analysis by Lihsapen

Though set in a completely different time period and sung by distinctively contrasting characters, the song “Agony” from the Broadway musical Into the Woods portrays the feelings of Holden in The Catcher in the Rye. Holden has strong emotions for his neighbor Jane, yet she is dating Holden’s roommate Stradlater. Holden cares greatly about Jane, but like the characters who sing “Agony”, he cannot have her. The song demonstrates how devastating unrequited love can be to an individual’s being, and therefore can be compared to Holden’s feelings for Jane.

The Vanishing Act by Bright Eyes

Were you surprised that we never spoke?Then in the still of the night, when nothing stirsI woke and I gathered up some clothesI never planned on this but it’s the way it goesAnd now it all seems so familiar Like pages turned on calendars We get the same twelve months to f*** things upYear after yearAnd I can’t believe how down I am Like the well I’m being lowered in, now water stops,The bucket drops us farther and farther downWell, I guess that you never knew meOr at least not well enoughSo I fill my gut with dark red wine Until my brain shuts off and my eyes go blindYou won’t see me there in that thick black air, yeahI’ll finally make something disappearBecause I’ve been practicing disappearing And I think that I’ve got it down But now there is no sun, just a cellarNowhere is sky, it’s just that black, black dirtExpanding outwards, just echoes for answers Not that it matters if it’s back or it’s forwardsUnhappy lovers with baskets of flowers Use them as markersThe place where your bed once stood A time when it still felt goodBut you’ll get that feeling backYou just need some time to drink And so I’ll fill my gut with that blood red wine Until my insides swim and my veins unwindI’ll be lying there in that hot white air Once that something is gone it might never reappear

Analysis by picassomoon

I think that if Holden were to choose one song to describe his life, it would be The Vanishing Act by Bright Eyes. “I can’t believe how down I am like the well I’m being lowered in” depicts the loneliness and depression Holden suffers. Like a bucket being lowered in a well, Holden feels that he is drifting farther and farther away from society. I believe the next line can be dedicated to most of the people in Holden’s life. I don’t think anyone truly knows Holden, because he hasn’t really figured himself out yet. All Holden wants to do is drown out the sound of life’s problems and “vanish.” Running away from Pencey, meeting with Sunny in his hotel room, being unable to enter the museum, are all ways in which Holden has been “practicing disappearing.” His questions referring to where the ducks go in the winter go unanswered, “Just echoes for answers,” not that it really matters. Lines 18 and 19 potentially relate to Holden’s relationship with Jane. Jane is his past/unhappy lover and the rare occasions he felt good and happy was during the times he spent with her. Even though Holden is so close to home in New York City, he is still far and alone. I think more than anything, Holden just wants to disappear.



3 responses to “Connections between Catcher and the Rye and song lyrics Belle42, Yippyeiyo, Lihsapen, picassomoon

  1. longcatislong

    Great choice of songs, a lot of these you would never think could apply to Catcher until reading this. Looks like you put a lot of thought into the analysis, and the format with all the videos makes for an interesting blog.

  2. longcatislong

    ^That was assigned, sorry

  3. Assigned:

    Wow, you have a lot of really good analysis and very original song choices! “Institutionalized” has interesting connections that I would have never thought of- you did a great job analyzing the book and its connection to the song.

    Also, your layout is simple and easy to follow, but maybe in the future include the song lyrics at the end so there is less to scroll through?

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