The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

January 14, 2011
By thisismyscreenname BRONZE, Cambridge, Massachusetts
thisismyscreenname BRONZE, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“Do you feel absolutely no concern for your future boy?’

‘Oh I feel some concern for my future, all right. Sure. Sure, I do.’ I thought about it for a minute. ‘But not too much I guess. Not too much at all.”

Does this sound familiar? Well Holden Caulfield has heard the same question hundreds of times. Why don’t you just try harder? Do you care about what happens in your life at all? Always the same answer: not really. This scene shows that Holden Caulfield is a genuine slacker. This book, The Catcher in the Rye, is an amazing story about his trouble to overcome the many obstacles of growing up, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quick but quality read.

This novel, written by J.D. Salinger, examines the life of a teenage boy growing up in the 1940s. It starts off with the main character, a slightly mentally unstable boy named Holden Caulfield, getting kicked out of his fourth high school, Pencey Prep. After his final day at school he heads home to Manhattan, not telling his parents about his expulsion or that he would be wandering around New York alone. He proceeds to drift around the gigantic city going to bars, getting drunk, not always making great decisions, as well as conversing with nuns, prostitutes, and numerous ex-girlfriends. The longer he stays, the more depressed he gets. One night he decides to visit his sister Phoebe who he cares greatly about. When she hears of his recent dismissal from Pencey, she gets angry and tells him that he has to get his act together or he will become a good-for-nothing failure. Will Holden pull himself together and listen to the one person he’s sure he loves? I guess you’ll have to read it to find out!

I really enjoyed reading The Catcher in the Rye for many reasons. First off, it was very funny and easy to relate too. Holden, a teenager, faces many of the same troubles that teenagers today face. He gets caught up in drinking, has some serious trouble in school, and struggles to get along with his family. Just by looking at the cover I thought it was just going to be another boring classic about some old “phony,” to put it in the words of Holden Caulfield, from some time period where they all talked like they’ve just walked out of a Shakespearean play. I read it because my English Teacher made me, not because I wanted to. Oh, I don’t think it’s possible for me to have been more wrong about it. Don’t let the idea that it’s a classic turn you away. Give it a chance, I guarantee you will enjoy it. All in all, I give this book an undaunted five stars out of five and I would recommend it to just about everyone ages 12 to 112.

My favorite part of this novel would have to be its utterly hilarious characters including Phoebe, Arckley, Jane, Sunny, and (of course) Holden. Holden sees the world differently than most. He hates pretty much all movies because he thinks that actors are all phonies, when his brother goes to be a writer in Hollywood he’s not excited like most kids his age would, but he’s disappointed that his brother is wasting his talent, and the funniest things annoy him. “God how I hate how that guy messes around with his socks, it makes me want to kill myself!” he says when he sees a guy walking down the street with one green sock and one brown sock. Another thing I like about him is how care free he is. When I began reading the book I was confused, for I couldn’t really understand what the main plot was. There was no obvious climax and though there were many conflicts, there was no clear main one. I didn’t realize until after I was finished, that that was the point. Holden’s whole life is unplanned and has no real purpose. He lives in the moment, and though his way of life has its faults, I admire him for that.

Throughout the novel, I think that the main theme that was displayed is that you should always think before you act, for there are often severe consequences for bad decisions. Because of his absentminded behavior, Holden falls mercy to many bad decisions. This theme was evident when Holden was at the bar and he made the mistake of getting drunk. The aftermath of his poor decision included the breaking of his sister’s gift, getting in a fight, and getting lost in Central Park. If he head simply made the decision not to drink, all of these things could have been avoided. I think that this theme applies to everyone, for everybody makes an occasional mistake. After all, nobody’s perfect!

To conclude, I really enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, but amazing book. “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.” his history tells him on his way out of Pencey. The question is, will Holden finally listen to his advice and just play by the rules? I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: YOU’VE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK.

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