Saturday, October 3, 2009

J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield, a teenager, finds that he is expelled from Pencey, a prep-school, before the Christmas Holiday, and makes the executive decision to leave campus and spend time in New York City alone. Through his misadventures, Holden finds out more about both the city he grew up in, and about himself. J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye intrigued me with its tale of a nearly despondent teenager and his journey through the concrete jungle of New York City.

One unusual characteristic of this book lies in the writing style. To my dismay, a pessimistic, nearly despondent, and angry tone pervades itself through the entire book. Normally, such a horrible tone makes me want to scream, “Burn it!” within the first three pages. However, despite the dreadful style, this book kept me glued to the page and not wanting to put the book down.

Yet another facet of this classic that engrossed me was the wide cast of characters present. Salinger knows how to make people out of characters for sure! By the time I had finished half of the book, I felt as though I knew Holden well enough to predict his next abysmal phrase. Even minor characters such as Stradlater and the nuns are described in so much detail; they seem to have more of a personality than some real humans. Stradlater’s hurried actions and snobbish request (as well as Holden’s commentaries about him) suggest that his personality can be summed up as snobbish and arrogant. The nuns’ kind actions and courteous behavior toward Holden portray them as stereotypical nuns.

Other examples of the uniqueness of this book lie in the setting. Typically, I can relate to the setting of a book somehow, but this takes place in the Big Apple, New York City. On the contrary, Salinger describes the streets to a degree in which I could find my way through the megalopolis.

All rambling aside, I thoroughly enjoyed J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. The unique style and word play captured me and held me hostage until the last page. I highly recommend this book, and can guarantee that it will be like nothing you have read before.

277 Pages

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