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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

English Department Hosts "Wildcat in the Rye" Workshop

On October 3, Dr. Kamran Javadizadeh and a group of Villanova English majors and MA candidates hosted the "Wildcat in the Rye" event, the English department's first book discussion geared toward an audience of freshmen. Close to eighty students gathered on the second floor of Good Counsel Hall (with some spillover on the overhanging balcony) to eat pizza and discuss J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Dr. Javadizadeh opened the evening by sharing his first experience with the book: an older friend read him a passage in which a speaker at protagonist Holden Caulfield's Pencey Prep (modeled on Valley Forge Military Academy, which Salinger attended) gave a speech and interrupted himself with a bout of flatulence. Dr. Javadizadeh then read one of his favorite passages, in which Caulfield discusses his attraction to the American Museum of Natural History and the way in which nothing there changes no matter how many times one visits. He then described how the book still speaks to him and reminded students that, depending on the circumstances of their lives, different aspects of the book will resonate with them at different points as well. He then turned the floor over to an enthusiastic team of graduate and undergraduate English students who presented a reading of chapter fifteen and then dispersed to facilitate lively discussions with the younger students in intimate groups. Despite some attendees having never read the book, they were willing to engage with the text, and most importantly, with each other, in meaningful ways.


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