Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye
- An analysis of the novel

The Catcher in the Rye is published by the American author J.D Sallinger in 1951. The story is about a teenager Holden Caufield’s turbulent last few days before his Christmas vacation. During these days, Holden leaves Pency Prep, a boys’ school he has been kicked out of and takes off for a few nights alone in New York City. Through this story, he tells about his mental problems and gets some flashbacks to remember his experiences. The story begins at Pency Prep on the day of the big football game. Instead of going to the game, Holden, who has been expelled for failing four of his five classes, visit his history teacher, Mr. Spencer. Mr. Spencer lectures Holden about playing by the rules and thinking about his future. He pretends to listen, but actually he thinks that Mr. Spencer is a “phony.” Back in his dorm room his roommate, Stradlater, is going out for a date with Jane Gallagher, a girl Holden knows and likes. Holden and Stradlater are coming into a brawl and Holden leaves Pency early same evening. He takes the train to NY where he soon feels lonely and depressed. He starts acting strangely. He wears a red hunting cap everywhere he goes, asks cab drivers what happens to the ducks in the central park lagoon during the winter and wanders around from the hotel lounge to another bar trying to pick up women. Holden feels alone in a depressed world and has hit the bottom.

Holden Caulfield is a 16-year-old teenager who has dropped out of school several times. He comes from a wealthy background, which we can see in the way that his parents afford to keep sending him to a new school all the time. Holden does not talk a lot about his parents, but he refers to them in the beginning of the novel as distant and generalizes “(…) my parents would have about two haemorrhages apiece if I told anything personal about them. They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They’re nice and all – I’m...
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