On May 31st, our group led a class activity called “literary fanzine day” based on The Catcher in the Rye. The word “fanzine” may not seem familiar to students, but it’s definitely not estranged from the modern literary world. A blend of fan and magazine, or -zine, fanzine is a nonprofessional and nonofficial publication produced by fans of a particular cultural phenomenon(such as a literary or musical genre) for the pleasure of others who share their interest. Fanzines dates back to 1940’s science fictions and were first popularized within science fiction fandom, from whom it was adopted by others. These self published, photocopied collections of images and text are sometimes made into homemade magazines to promote a message or idea. The popularity and significance of zines are also revealed thorough underground punk and artistic subcultures.
Examples of Fanzines
The unique thing about fanzines is that their publishers, editors and contributors of articles or illustrations receive no financial compensation because fanzines are entirely prompted by people’s love for something. On Tuesday, we provided each group with a theme and the corresponding character such as Holden for rebelliousness and Carl Luce for sex life. We encouraged the class to be as creative with the themes they as possible. Students could cut out words, phrases, or images from magazines, doodle, and customize their pages any way they wanted. We had some amazing results. Completely unrelated subjects in the multifaceted magazines could be turned into a comprehensive analysis of Catcher in the Rye themes. Each group created their own stylish Catcher in the Rye fanzine which was collected at the end to be stapled into a color-page mini magazine.
By conducting this “literary fanzine” activity, we wanted to invigorate our classmates’ artistic potentials and encourage them to get the ideas in their head onto the paper in creative and illustrative forms. As it turned out, they produced impressive results in just one class period. There are so many contemplative details in the book and so many ways to present our thoughts about Catcher in the Rye. We have only touched upon one small aspect of the book’s interpretations, but we hope that through this activity our classmates can feel how enjoyable it is to occasionally stray away from a traditional class setting and incorporate arts and crafts into their study.