How I Became Me

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To begin, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is unique. The novel is written from the perspective of a teenager who lives in New York in the 1950's. From the context in the beginning and the end of the book, "I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy" (page 1), "I could probably tell you what I did after I went home, and how I got sick and all, and what school I'm supposed to go to next fall, after I get out of here, but I don't feel like it" (page 213), we can infer that Holden Caulfield, the aforementioned teenager, is in a mental hospital. However, he tells the story through flashback of a three-day period sometime before Christmas the year before. This is unusual because most novels cover much more time than three days. This is one reason why this novel is so unique. Although the novel is spread over only three days, we learn so much about the protagonist, and many other characters, because all Holden's thoughts and feelings, especially about other characters, during these three days is portrayed, nothing is left out. 



My favorite part of the book is probably Holden's interaction with and description of Ackley in Chapter 3. This is probably my favorite part of the book because I can relate to the protagonist in that I have to put up with my neighbor who fits the description of Ackley perfectly. Ackley is a rather nosy fellow who comes over through a window and without permission. He plays with all of Holden's possessions, and then puts them back in different locations. He cuts his nails all over Holden's room, stands in his reading light to talk to him, and he never brushes his teeth. I also enjoy not only this part, but also other descriptions of other characters, because the author has a totally unique way of describing people. "He was exactly the kind of a guy that wouldn't get out of your light when you asked him to"...
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