The Catcher in the Rye: Novel Summary
The book was written by J.D. Salinger. J. D. Salinger provides an image of an atypical teen young boy in The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is a lot more than a troubled teenager going through “a phase.” Undoubtedly Holden is a very unique young boy with special needs.
Holden, unlike the normal imaginary teen, does not reveal regular rebellion. He suspects his instructors and parents not due to the fact that he wishes to separate himself from them, however because he can’t comprehend them. In fact there is little in the world that he does understand. The only people he trusts and respects are Allie, his departed brother, and Phoebe, his more youthful sister. Everyone else is a phony of some sort. Holden uses the word phony to recognize everything on the planet which he declines. He declines his roommate Stradlater due to the fact that Stradlater doesn’t value the memories so dear to Holden (Allie’s baseball glove and Jane’s kings in the back row). Even Ernie, the piano player, is phony since he’s too skilled. Holden automatically associates skill with conceit (from previous experiences no doubt) and thus can’t separate the 2. Even Holden’s many relied on teacher, Mr. Antolini, shows to be a phony when he attempts to fondle Holden. Hence the poor boy is left with a cluster of memories, some great but most bad.
Yet since of these memories, Holden has actually established the special capability to speak candidly (though not articulately) about individuals he fulfills. Though he seems extremely skeptical about the world, he is actually simply mystified. His vocabulary typically makes him appear hard, but in truth he is an extremely weak-willed person. Holden has no idea of discomfort, and frequently likes to see himself as a martyr for a worthwhile cause. This is proven after the fight with Maurice, after which he envisions his guts spilling out on the floor.
The end of the book demonstrates substantial development on the part of Holden. Although at first Holden is quick to condemn those around him as phony (like Stradlater and Ackley), his more current encounters with others prove that he is becoming more tolerant and less judgmental. This is evidenced after the experience with Mr. Antolini, where Holden is determined not to make any conclusions about his instructor. This development contributes to Holden’s dream of being a catcher in the rye. In spite of his inability and worry of becoming an adult, he has actually found his role in keeping the innocence of other children secured. This is shown when he attempts to scratch out the profanities at Phoebe’s grade school. He imagines himself on a cliff, catching innocent children (like himself at one time) who accidently fall off the cliff, bridging the space between childhood and the adult years.
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