Catcher in the Rye

Books

I recently decided to read The Catcher in the Rye as a follow up from my original reading in the 8th grade. I figured that if I read it again, I’d probably enjoy it more and have a greater understanding of the story.

Catcher in the Rye is a novel written by J.D. Salinger.

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”

“That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy. They really can.”

“I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.”

“Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad.”

Holden Caulfield is the main character of the book.  Holden is a New York teen who just got kicked out of yet another boarding school. The entire story takes place over three days.

The story begins on a Saturday right after the semester ended for Holden. This is the fourth school he’s flunked out of and he’s afraid of what his parents are going to say / think. Holden starts heading back to New York and does many different things within the three days before finally arriving home.

Holden meets with many different people from his past, goes on many adventures, makes many different plans in his head for the future, and so on. The thing about the Catcher in the Rye is that it’s not necessarily about where Holden is going or who he’s with. Catcher in the Rye focuses on Holden’s thoughts, his personality, what he doesn’t say out loud to others and it’s brilliant.

Holden alienates himself throughout the entire novel which causes most of his pain. He explains why he thinks the “adult world” is so phony and how so many of the things humans say are “phony.” Holden lets us into his mind to discover the phoniness of the world, the lying and deception he engages in, his loneliness, and his pain.

I definitely did get a different understanding and admiration for the story this time around. I continue to think it is a brilliant story. However, I can understand why many others would not like it. The bottom line is, you either identify with Holden or you don’t. Many people appreciate the story because they feel like J.D. Salinger understood them and displayed that through Holden. Other’s may just think that Holden is a snobby privileged kid who thinks he’s above everyone. Personally, I think it’s a great read and would recommend it to everyone.

 

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