The Catcher in the Rye – by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye book cover by J.D. Salinger

Introduction

Catcher in the Rye is a novel written by J.D. Salinger that is considered to be one of the greatest works that American literature has ever produced. It is also a controversial piece of literature that has often been linked to the assassination attempts at President Ronald Reagan and the murder of John Lennon. It was written in 1951, and all the controversy surrounding the book and its author has made it a timeless classic that sells by the thousands even on this day. 

While this book may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is certainly a compelling read filled with excitement, a heavy dose of reality, a pinch of humor, and severe moments of depression to keep the readers engaged.

Summary

The story follows a 17-year-old character, Holden Caulfield, who is trying to make a sense of the world that surrounds him and the consequences of his actions. The plot deals with a personal and tragic story that many readers can relate to, regardless of their age. The story begins by portraying Caulfield as a loner who has recently been expelled from the prestigious boarding school, which leads him to roam around New York City aimlessly urging people to lend an ear to his plight. He finds out that the world is indeed very cruel as he thought as people never make an effort to understand him.

Making matters even worse is the fact that Caulfield’s teachers never seem to have the right words to encourage him, his mentor makes an unduly advances, and his friends barely managed to understand him. His journey of finding love meets a similar fate as his belief in humanity, as he fails to recognize or experience both. There is a lot more to the story that the user will experience as it progresses.

Impressions

Catcher in the Rye is one of the most influential and misunderstood novels of the 20th century due to the presence of strong language and themes related to controversial subjects. The story timeline stretches for just three days, but that is just enough for Salinger that to create the hard-hitting impressions of a cynical world with a young man caught in the middle. Most of the story takes place in a flashback with occasional references to the current time. 

Through the use of profanity, the author has ensured that readers can walk in the proverbial shoes off Holden Caulfield, who has almost given up on finding the meaning of life. The plot of this book is centered around the concept of morality that young readers may find hard to grasp, but it is nonetheless an eye-opening read for young adults and adults.

Conclusion

The author wrote this book in 1951, and it is still widely acknowledged and recommended even today. One can probably find a copy in every bookstore, and this novel has been assigned to many high schools as a lesson for over 50 years. Salinger managed to capture the voice of adolescence more poignantly and perfectly than anyone else did in his generation, and better than anyone probably could in the times to come.

The Catcher in the Rye Audio Book