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The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye

daynapitts, May 3, 2010

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger is a novel highlighting finding yourself, and the struggle to accept and adapt to change. This novel is appealing to any audience or reader, and a good read in my opinion.
The book, The Catcher in the Rye was published in July, 1951 and has been read by a wide audience for many years. It considered a classic in American literature and renown for the protagonist, Holden Caulfield. It was published on the heels of the economic revival of the 1940s and the author, J.D. Salinger has been said to reflect Holden Caulfield and was isolated and withdrew from much of society after the novel was published.
The Catcher in the Rye is a story of an adolescent journey to discover himself. It is not a complete journey, Holden Caulfield is expelled from his fourth prep school and is struggling to deal with reality and accept the changes that life is bringing. He struggles to make and keep relationships, and views authority figures as phony. He relates to a select number of people, including his brother, D.B, his younger sister, Phoebe and his dead brother, Allie Caulfield. Holden Caulfield is narrating the story, retelling his journey and reflecting on the psychological impact of what he has been through. The Catcher in the Rye begins to investigate Holden’s perception but does not end with the journey complete.
The story begins with Holden telling the reader that he has been institutionalized and the events that unfold in the novel have happened in the past. His attendence in the mental facility is the outcome of these events. The story takes place in New York City where Holden Caulfield wanders before returning home after his removal for Pencey prep school. He reunites with old friends from school and childhood, he also makes it clear how lonely and depressed he feels. “I felt so lonesome, all of a sudden. I almost wished I was dead” (48). The story is composed of a few days of Holden losing himself, feeling completely alone and lost and eventually having a nervous breakdown. Holden is critical of almost every person in his life and finds many things that he disapproves of in others. The novel ends with Holden explaining that he has been in the mental hospital trying to get well, and D.B. visits him frequently.
The novel, The Catcher in the Rye can be evaluated in many different ways. Holden Caulfield is the focus of my evaluation, as the story represents himself and all people similar to Holden. Holden Caulfield is a privleged teenager who has been given opportunities but lacks a true desire or initiative to be committed or try. He seems apathetic to me, and somewhat selfish because he does not do a lot to better his situation but dwells on it more than taking the steps to improve his unhappiness. Mr. Antolini tells Holden, “‘I think that one of these days,’ he said, ‘you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. Not you’” (188). I personally find it hard to relate to Holden because I feel he possesses talent but does not use it. I see so many young people around me, who are so incredibly gifted and will not stop and do not complain but work hard to get what they want. I believe whether or not you are the best at something you should give your all no matter what. Holden lacks that passion, something I often feel I have too much of, and this is a frustrating reality to watch unfold for Holden.
I also feel that Holden is faced with a difficult obstacle to overcome. He lost his younger brother and close friend to Leukemia and has a really hard time dealing with this loss. I feel this causes a lot of his issues with adults and authority even though the readers do not know the entire story. I have never had a loss that immense in my life, and I cannot imagine losing a family member. The pain he has endured has made it hard for him to accept change and isolated him from other people. While I still feel that he Holden Caulfield is apathetic and passive, I understand where these behaviors may stem from.
The Catcher in the Rye was a difficult read for me at first. I did not like it all that much in the beginning, and it took me some thinking after completeing the book to understand what I liked and disliked about the novel. While I do not see it has my favorite book, I think it is a very good read, especially for people my age. I feel this novel is a realistic representation of what some teenagers and young adults go through in the stuggle to find themselves. It shows the impact that family has as a young person and how that carries with someone all throughout life. Holden Caulfield represents the imperfect standard that young adults often feel pressured to break. The book does not end happily, but it ends with something real, while that may not be perfect, it is the true outcome of Holden’s experience and it is a starting point of him achieving a normal life.

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