“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

By Meghana Mysore


Holden Caulfield is a depressed young guy looking for meaning in a seemingly meaningless world. He struggles with people and their selfish ways, and sees through their made-up exteriors. After getting kicked out of a prestigious, elite school, Holden wanders the streets aimlessly, going in and out of night clubs, hoping to meet someone and forget his loneliness. He lies to get out of telling the truth about himself. He wants to be someone he isn’t, and pretends to be someone else. Underneath all his hatred for the world, he badly wants to be accepted by it, or by anyone. He constantly deprives himself of happiness, perhaps because he wants it desperately. His hatred for humans gets in the way of his chances of being accepted, as he is close-minded and extremely judgmental. He appears to have high self-esteem from the way he talks about himself, but one can see that his cocky behavior barely hides his brokenness. Throughout the novel, he is haunted by his brother, Allie’s death, and the suicide of one of his friends. Sometimes, he handles his fears by blaming the world and drinking, though he knows it does not rid him of his sorrows. Holden is part of a constant battle between him and the universe.
I found The Catcher in the Rye to be an excellent read, mainly because of J.D Salinger’s frank story-telling. If you are looking for a book that is extremely deep, meaningful, and clever without broadcasting itself as such, then The Catcher in the Rye may be what you are looking for. It would also appeal to the young audience, as Holden deals with common problems of youth throughout the novel. In fact, Salinger’s Holden Caulfield is so life-like in ways that perhaps no other character of literature has been. On the outside, he seems careless and somewhat inconsiderate, but on the inside, he knows far more about life than most. Most of Holden’s actions and thoughts are similar to those of teenagers across various time periods, which is why the book would appeal to anyone who has ever been a teenager. Everyone should read The Catcher in the Rye not only because it is a world-renowned book, but because of its immense truthfulness.
Holden talks to his sister often, and tells her about his qualms with life. He tells her about his strange desire to be “the catcher in the rye.” There are many strange instances in the book like this that require in-depth thought about the human race. The emotions in The Catcher in the Rye are so complicated and honest that one would question whether Salinger was describing real people and events. I believe that The Catcher in the Rye should be read by everyone because it covers, so naturally, the difficulties and gray areas of being human that is often indefinable. This is a book about being human, being alive, and being afraid. There are certain differences in the way people feel, and the way they act. If you are familiar with these differences and the gray areas in life and are not afraid of the dry truth, then I recommend you meet Holden Caulfield.

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