The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye

By | May 2001
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The novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, is about a troubled young man named Holden Caulfield. Holden searches his teenage life, struggling to find answers to his questions about himself and his identity. No matter where Holden goes, in his opinion he is surrounded by phonies. They appear to be everywhere Holden is: his school, the hotel, the theatre, and all over the streets of New York. The story is told from Holden's point of view, as he endeavours to put together the pieces of the puzzle that he calls his life.

Holden Caulfield, the main character in the novel, is an immature teenager. Holden is sixteen years old, six feet two inches tall, with a crew cut and prematurely greying hair. His story begins as he is kicked out of prep school, and takes off to New York. Holden's thoughts and ideas reveal many of his character traits. One late Saturday night, four days before the beginning of school vacation, Holden decides to leave Pencey, his school, at once and travels to New York by train. Once in New York, he decides that he will stay in a cheap motel until Wednesday, when he is to return home. His plan shows how very impetuous he is and how he acts on a whim. He is unrealistic, thinking that he has a foolproof plan, even though the extent of his plans are to "take a room in a hotel...and just take it easy till Wednesday." This course of action proves Holden's recklessness and immaturity very early on in the novel.

Another considerably minor (and yet still imperative) addition to the novel is Phoebe Caulfield. Holden's younger sister is his main supporter. She sticks with him no matter what, but she also, however, is not afraid to scold Holden for his errors. Although Phoebe is merely a young child, she understands Holden, sometimes more than he does. "Old Phoebe didn't say anything, but she was listening.... she always listens when you tell her something. And the funny part is she knows, half the time, what the hell you're...

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