The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Starting out like a journal, this story is told by the narrator himself, Holden Caulfield who is a sixteen year old junior who has just been expelled for academic failure from a school called Pencey Prep. He is an intelligent, sensitive and yet jaded character who is trying to protect himself from the disappointment of the adult world. Holden’s character as well as how he acted towards his own situation really captivated me. He used a lot of alienation as a form of protection. He advertised his own uniqueness and used his isolation as proof that he is better than everyone else around him and therefore above interacting with them when the truth was interacting with others just overwhelmed him.

I found it interesting that Holden has yet to actually address his own feelings in the first half of this book. He also never tries to find the source of his troubles. For example, instead of confessing to his family that he was expelled from another school, he decides to stay in New York until he has to return to his family.

The way Holden interacts with other characters is really something to read about. He silently gauges their moods and if he’s bored, he’ll provoke or poke at them for fun. The way he is a black and white yet gray character makes me really have to think about him.

I have not read about a character like this before so I find it interesting. Though the pace of the first half seems a bit unorganized and too slow or too fast at times, I feel like that is really adding onto the charm of this story so far. I hope something more exciting happens in the second half of the story.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

  1. margaretkang

    The second half was not as good as I hoped it would be. It mainly consisted of Holden going through his emotions with girls and some other repetitive interaction with others.

    The majority of the book was dedicated to showing Holden’s mental and emotional struggle from what I see. He hung out with girls, got drunk and then basically repeated that for a bit.

    Meeting up with his talkative sister after sneaking into his parent’s apartment was a good pace changer in the book as it had started to get dull.

    The way Phoebe scorned Holden for not wanting to grow up was an element of surprise. Her being six years younger, I did not expect for her to be that mature. It was definitely refreshing to have a character like this towards Holden. She knew it was necessary to grow up. She knows Holden better than us which makes her judgements about him more reliable. I believe she acted as a surrogate for us readers. The bond between them is more like Holden needs her than she needs her older brother.

    I wish there was more impact in this book as it did not really strike me as meaningful. To me, it seemed like it was lacking a meaning or a moral. I would recommend it if you wanted to just pass time. I take into consideration that I may not have fully understood some parts in the story.

  2. jackiebooth21

    I find it impressive that you were able to understand Holden’s inability to accept his own feelings. That is very perceptive reading! I am glad you read this book and are commenting on it because I have been interested in reading it for a while now. I didn’t know exactly what the book was about, but I didn’t expect it to be about this. I am grateful for your honesty about the occasional dullness. I definitely won’t pick up this book if I am looking for an exciting read. However, I sometimes enjoy easier reads like this seems to be, so this book may be on my agenda!

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