It's a strange thing knowing that you're not allowed to go anywhere. Most young Australians, those in our heavily populated cities, for example, are used to going out and socially interacting with others on a regular basis, so the sudden understanding that they're now not allowed to must seem absurd. It turns out that I'm one of those young Australians.
When I travelled to London in early December last year I secretly believed that my life would change for the better, that it would somehow transform itself into something that it hadn't been before. Little did I know how drastic things would become by the opening months of the following year, and all because of a noxious little coronavirus that virtually no Londoner was discussing when it first broke out in mainland China around Christmas. I wouldn't be surprised if most people thought it wouldn't reach them or that it would gradually disappear, that is, within the confines of the country just mentioned.
I’ve been questioning the underlying drives—historical, cultural, social, political, moral—that lead a man to behave like a man and a woman to behave like a woman. Why should a man or woman only present themselves according to how their culture or larger society dictates? I would think that for most people, to some extent or more, one only has to look in the mirror to see what’s actually there. But what if a man doesn’t like being as manly as he’s been socially taught to be? The same conundrum can apply to a woman’s case. I guess, being a man myself, I’ve never thought about these issues in much depth before. In this instance, however, it’s important to be open and honest about what I’m exploring here. That’s why I’ve written this article.
I can gladly say that The Catcher in the Rye was an important book for me at high school. It still is, though not in the same way that it used to be. I read it multiple times when I was younger, never failing each time to get drawn into the enthralling story of one Holden Caulfield, the lead character. I used to identify with him a lot more than I do now, probably because I'm currently learning how to live like a mature adult. This is something Caulfield never deals with, and I can understand why many readers would find such immaturity irritating. He never fully matures as a person. But in the context of the plot of Catcher, this side of his personality should make perfect sense to those who went through similar experiences when they were teenagers, and many teenagers are most likely going through them right now.
In a time of crisis we tend to not only reevaluate ourselves but our values and morals as well. We become scared, uncertain, in some cases terrified. With this comes the natural sense that we're meant to be doing something, that we're meant to be reacting in some way, to counter the major issue at hand. We start to look for advice, groping for some kind of reassurance in a world that’s changed dramatically over a very short period of time.