Catcher in the Rye

Over 50 years ago, an author named J.D. Salinger wrote one of the best novels that I have ever read. This story is entitled, The Catcher in the Rye. The Catcher in the Rye is an excellent story narrated by the main character, Holden Caulfield. Holden is a confused 16 year old, who is struggling to find himself. He is a very cynical and hypocritical young man. Throughout the entire story, Holden points out all of the flaws of every person he is associated with, and actually says that he dislikes almost every one of them. The funny thing about that fact is that, after you have finished the book, you realize that Holden possesses similar qualities to all the people that he claims to hate, and you also realize that this is quite possibly the reason that he does in fact hate each of them, because I believe that Holden is dissatisfied with himself.


The Catcher in the Rye begins with Holden Caulfield telling the story from a medical facility of some sort that he has been sent to, to recover from an illness or breakdown. He refuses to talk about his early life, but tells the story of when he broke down, beginning with his expulsion from a famous Prep School in Pennsylvania.

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At Pencey Prep, Holden fails four of his five classes, and is expelled due to grades before winter break. Knowing that they are his last days, Holden makes the best of it by going to the movies, which he claims to hate. I chose to talk about that particular event, because this is one of the many things that Holden claims to hate, but throughout the entire story, he goes to movies, and makes connections to them.


Holden doesnt want to go back home to New York with the news of his school status, for fear of what his parents will do, seeing as how this was the fourth school he has been enrolled in. Holden is then sparked to leave early because his roommate, who is one of the only sexually experienced boys at Pencey, is taking out a girl named Jane, who Holden is in love with.


Because of this event Holden leaves for New York early, deciding that he will go to New York and stay in a Hotel for a few days before arriving at home. Now this is when the story actually begins to take form. During his first night at his hotel in New York, we discover that Holden has a huge sexual desire, of which his entire first night is devoted to, not to mention little references to it throughout the rest of the story. Holden not only tries to persuade a girl whom he has never met to have sex with him, but after that plan fails he goes downstairs to the hotel bar and tries to hit on three much older women who only through his age back in his face, and leave him to pick up their tab. Finally when heading back to his room, the elevator operator offers to hook him up with a prostitute for only $5. Holden, who feels rejected, accepts the offer. Now when the prostitute arrives to his room, even though he has spoken about his lust to have sex, he doesnt go through with it. That showed me right there how Holden relates to the other characters he hates. How he supposedly hates phonies, and people who brag about things in which they have not done.


In the next days events, Holden walks through Central Park looking for his little sister, Phoebe, who is only ten years old, but understands him completely. He does not find her there, and decides to sneak into his apartment building and wake Phoebe to talk to her. After successfully sneaking into the apartment, he wakes Phoebe, who is very happy to see him. She talks non stop about everything going on in her life, then realizes that Holden is home early and suspects that he was kicked out of school. She tells him repeatedly that their father will kill him, so Holden then persuades her to listen to why it happened. He tells her about everything he hated at school, and she then tells him that he hates everything. She then asks him what he wants to do with his life, and his only answer is to mention what he heard a little boy say and that was READ PAGE 224. Before he leaves the apartment, he tells Phoebe that he has thought about moving out wet alone, she gives him the money she has saved for Christmas presents, and he leaves.
The next day, Holden goes to Phoebe’s school and sends her a note saying that he is leaving home for good and that she should meet him at lunchtime at the museum. When Phoebe arrives at the museum, she is carrying a suitcase full of clothes, and she asks Holden to take her with him. He refuses and she starts crying and then refuses to speak to him. Knowing that Phoebe will follow him, Holden leaves the museum and walks to the zoo. They look at the animals and then Holden takes Phoebe to the park. He buys her a ticket for the carousel and watches her ride. It starts to rain heavily, but Holden is so happy watching his sister ride the carousel that he is close to tears. Holden ends his narrative here, refusing to discuss what happened after that day, but he does say that he did go home, he got sick and was sent to the care center from which he is telling the story.


There are many events that spawn in the last chapter of the novel, they are not actual events that you read about, but after you have finished, you begin to put them together in your head. I enjoyed this story because in some aspects it related to my life, and also related to many people that I know. It was easy to read, and was also one of the only books that I have been able to come to my own conclusions about at the end, and throughout the entire thing as well. If you havent read The Catcher in the Rye, I highly recommend picking up a copy today, Thank You.

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