The catcher in the rye is a work of fiction and a
tragic-comedy. I came to choose it because I heard it is about a
boy who is around my age.
In this book, the main character, Holden Caulfield, tells
us a story about what happened during his Christmas vacation.
Holden is a sixteen-year-old boy who has flunked out of a private
prep school. Because he is afraid that his parents would find out
this fact, he goes to a hotel in New York City instead of going
home after he leaves school for Christmas vacation. In New York,
many things happen to him within a few days. For example, he goes
to the hotel bar and meets three women after he first arrives
there. The women go away soon after he fails to talk with them,
and Holden feels lonely and depressed. He goes to another bar to
find someone to spend some time with, but he fails to find anyone
to talk to and comes back to the hotel feeling more depressed. In
the hotel, he meets a prostitute, but he sends her back without
having sex because he feels depressed and sorry for her. He was
further disappointed when she tries to rob him of his money even
though he tries to be nice to her. In the next morning, he has a
date with an old girl friend, and asks her to flee from this
corrupt world and live in the woods with him. However, she tells
him he is crazy and then leaves him. Holden meets some more
people later, but they also cannot solve his problems, and he
feels more and more depressed and lonely. He finally decides to
run away and live as a deaf-mute who will not need to communicate
with anyone. Before leaving, he goes to say good-bye to his
little sister, Pheobe, who he admires the most. While talking and
playing with her, Holden changes his mind and decides to rejoin
his family and because he realizes there are many things that he
cannot solve by himself.
The theme of this novel is how innocence is corrupted by
society. Holden thinks everybody who is grown up is a phony
because their behavior and advice are all false. The title of
Free Catcher in the Rye Essays: The Highly Overrated Catcher in the Rye
The Overrated Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye is probably the most frequently taught book in American high schools and colleges in the second half of the twentieth century. I am not too sure, though, if the novel deserves the position it has held for so long.
The book sees the narrator, Holden Caulfield, a seventeen-year-old boy from New York City, tell the story of three days in his life. The whole narrative is a kind of therapeutic coming-to-terms-with-the-past story, since Holden obviously tells it from a psychiatric institution. It is the adult world that has made him a “madman,” as he often characterizes himself. He just cannot relate to anyone except for his kid sister Phoebe. Everything and all other people seem “phony” to him. He flunks out of three boarding schools in a row, the latest of them Pencey Prep, which is also where the first part of the story takes place.
One Saturday night, after some last experiences with his history teacher “Old Spencer,” his roommate Stradlater and the boy next door, Robert Ackley, Holden decides to leave Pencey four days early for Christmas break. He knows that he cannot return and that his parents will get a letter about his suspension on Wednesday. He spends the night and the following two days wandering around New York in a kind of aimless quest: He stays at a cheap hotel for one night, goes to two night clubs, dances with older women, often talks and thinks about sex, even has a callgirl come up to his room, but cannot get himself to perform the act. Finally, he gets beaten up by the callgirl’s pimp. The next day, he talks with some nuns about literature and has a date with his former girlfriend Sally Woodruff. They go to a theater show and ice-skating together. When he asks her to run away with him, she gets mad and they part. He is “depressed,” thinks about and even talks to his dead brother Allie a lot and finally sneaks into his parents’ apartment at night to talk to his sister. He tells her about his dream to be a “catcher in the rye,” and that he wants to run away. He then leaves to meet his former teacher, Mr. Antolini. They have a good talk, but Holden leaves in a hurry when his host makes a sexual advance on him.