Catcher in the Rye – J. D Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye is about a sixteen year old boy named Holden Caulfield who studies at Pencey Preparatory School. Before the end of the first trimester, Holden gets suspended because of his bad grades and his uninterested attitude. He gets in a fight with his roommate, who is dating a girl with whom Holden used to be in love. He’s still obsessed with her, and wants to call her every day. He gets so upset that he decides to leave Pencey straight away. He is sick of everyone and thinks they are  ‘sunovabitches’ or  ‘phony’s’.

He travels to New York, where his parents live. The school holiday doesn’t start until four days from then.
Because of that, Holden can’t go home; his parents can’t find out yet that he got suspended. He is scared of how they will react.
He decides to stay in a hotel.
Holden spends his time in New York walking through the city, not knowing what to do. Holden gets depressed and lonely.
When he goes back to the hotel, the hotel’s bellboy offers him a prostitute. He accepts.
When she comes to the room he changes his mind, gives her money and sends her out. This shows you what kind of a person Holden is, he acts weird and is indecisive.

After a night at a bar downtown, Holden feels depressed so he decides to visit his sister Phoebe. He sneaks into his parents’ house.                                                                                                  He feels much better after seeing her. Throughout the entire book he is very positive about her. He talks about how she’s a lot younger but already really smart, nice and funny.

Holden is very depressed and criticizes everything. In the beginning of the book you are wondering why he acts like this, but soon you find out that he is struggling with the death of his brother. He tells a lot of memories about his brother. Holden doesn’t know how to handle the loss.

At one point in the book he talks about a rye where kids are playing and running around, on top of a cliff. He wants to stop the kids from falling off the cliff. This refers to one of the main themes of the book; growing up.

 Throughout the book, he talks about childhood, for example the national museum, like how he remembers every room and how they remind him of the great school trips he used to have there. When he talks about childhood he’s always positive. That also reflects on the main theme growing up, but you get the feeling that he doesn’t want to grow up at all. He thinks everything is better being a child.

I think the main character, Holden Caulfield, is very interesting and as I read the book, it was fascinating to get inside his head, to experience his weird way of thinking. The use of informality is effective. It makes you relate to the characters and makes them seem realistic. I liked the way it’s written, even though sometimes it was hard to understand because of Holden’s adapted vocabulary. It is funny to see that the book is written in 1951 and even then there was already a kind of slang language.

Overall, the book just works, Holden’s way of thinking is really weird, but you get dragged into his head. This makes you think like Holden does. I think because of this, the book will stay in my mind for a long time.The Catcher in the Rye


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