The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 5, 2011
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The wonderfully sarcastic novel, The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger, is a beautiful piece of literature that goes down in the books as a renowned American classic. This realistic fiction work was formerly published in 1951 by Little, Brown and Company in New York, NY and has enchanted and entertained its audiences ever since. The relatable story wisps readers away with the journey of a seemingly ordinary, sardonic and bitter teenager in finding his place within the chaos of adulthood and the society that comes along with it. Other equally important sub-themes include the “protection” and destruction alienating oneself provides, as well as condemning the artificial phonies within each and every person’s life here on earth. In my personal opinion, I think the novel is brilliant, raw, and touching; reaching into the inner youth of any person who reads it.

Salinger takes us into the life of 16 year old Holden Caulfield, a cynical young man and consistent prep-school dropout. Holden is at war with his inner demons; the story travelling along side his inner growth and confliction. He shares with the audience his experience of being expelled from yet another expensive, “phony” boarding school, Pencey Prep, and his decision to leave the school early and live on his own until the beginning of Christmas vacation. Unbeknownst to Holden’s parents, he is kicked out, and roams New York for the course of several, life-changing days in which he encounters very adult people and places that mature and shape him as a person. The narrative attacks the struggles one faces leaving behind innocence and adolescence when transitioning into adulthood in a raw and relatable fashion.

My reactions of this book were mostly ones of praise; Salinger does a marvelous job in portraying Holden in such a judgmental yet vulnerable light. He is the perfect example of a pure contradiction that everyone holds in their youth at one time or another; a state of change and transition. I believe that’s the reason as to why I loved the novel as much as I did; just a real, critical, “nitty gritty” sort of representation of teenage life that all people my age can relate to. It also balanced quite effectively the exposure of emotion and fact, in which Salinger used to keep the reader interested and grounded at the same time. I strongly agree with the novel in that growing up is tough and alienation is an easy shell and protection mechanism to use. Also, that insincerity is an unavoidable and inevitable facet of life that every human exhibits, and will continue to experience. However, maturity is being able to develop relationships and intimacy, confidence, and handling conflict with grace and poise. Salinger uses Holden as a guinea pig in showing us that there is beauty and love and vigor in life; that hiding in isolation and sarcastic attitudes only prevents us from seeing that. Although this novel is often banned for its explicit use of vulgarity, it is nonetheless a great read.

The Catcher and the Rye is one of the most treasured and adored pieces of literature today. Through an enticing combination of reality and emotion, Salinger depicts the essence of what the teenage life includes: confusion, loneliness, excitement, joy, and a budding maturity colliding all at once. I would recommend this work to any person my age or older; a memorable read for anyone who picks up the book.

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