From Catcher in the Rye to when the world bid bye to their favorite Beatle; through this piece we trace down the assassination and the effect of the death of John Lennon and its impact on people, which could just be sought as something equivalent to the death of Chester Bennington in effect or assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and John F. Kennedy in its intensity.
July 16, 1951; J. D. Sallinger publishes a coming of age novel that captures teenage cynicism and adolescent rush so craftily through its protagonist Holden Caulfield, that he goes on to become an epitome of a great ‘reckless endangerment’. Where Catcher in the Rye continues to be one of the greatest novels of all time, Holden is perhaps the perfect manifestation of mercurial changes of mood, absolute disregard of reality and temporal adolescence. Around thirty years later, on 8th of December 1980 ‘Haldon Caulfield’ recurs again as Mark David Chapman, with his stubborn refusal to admit his own sensitiveness and emotions, this time reading his own story against John Lennon’s body.
December 8, 1980 marks the death of a generation, of a movement, of art and that of John Lennon. A heretic hairy hedonist Lennon, is just another Beatle as Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr but one who outlasted his legacy even after his death thirty nine years ago on this very day.
With an acerbic musical taste and magnanimous presence, John Lennon was a ferocious, politically opinionated peace activist, whose bed-ins for peace and associations with the hippie movement are as significant as his assassination.
December 5 1980, seventy two hours before Lennon would’ve ‘imagined there’s no heaven or hell below us,’ for the last time, he spoke to Rolling Stone editor Jonathan Cott at his apartment on New York’s Upper West Side uttering these words,“Give peace a chance, not shoot people for peace. All we need is love. I believe it.”
What followed next was the assassination plot drafted by Mark Chapman who met Lennon on the evening of December 8. Mark had asked for an autograph by Lennon on a copy of his then latest album Double Fantasy while Lennon was leaving The Dakota with his wife Yoko Ono. They left for a recording session of “Walking on Thin Ice” at the Record Plant Studio. After the session, Lennon and Ono returned to their Manhattan apartment at around 10:50 p.m. EST. On their entrance at the archway of the Dakota, Lennon again encountered Chapman; this time with a Charter Arms Undercover 38 as he shot Lennon four times in the back at close range.
Chapman, 25, once a Beatle fan disavowed Lennon’s lifestyle and detested Lennon’s remarks about ‘The Beatle’s being more popular than Jesus and lyrics of their songs like ‘God’ and ‘Imagine’ was certainly a frenzy fanatic like Nahuram Godse.
Chapman then remained at the murder scene reading Catcher in the Rye until his arrest by the New York Police, the copy of the novel that Chapman carried beared his signature along with words, ‘This is my statement’ and continued to produce this as a defense statement until his 10th Parole rejection in August 2018.
December 22, 1980 American Film Critic John Cock aptly testifies with regard to Lennon’s death ,“The murder was something else. It was an assassination, a ritual slaying of something that could hardly be named Hope, perhaps; or idealism. Or time. Not only lost, but suddenly dislocated, fractured.”
It is interesting to note that on March 30, 1981, four months later John Warnock Hinckley Jr., an American man attempted to assassinate U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C. again Sallinger’s Catcher in the Rye were one of his few belongings.
Feature Image Credits: mirror.co.uk