The Book Nook: “The Catcher in the Rye”


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By Ria Saketh, Staff Writer

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger is a book with so much controversy and debate that it has become a part of its mystique. While many people have differing opinions on the novel, one thing is agreed upon across the board: the book itself has such a timeless writing style, that it can be seen as a coming of age novel appropriate for almost any era. 

The novel takes place in the 1950s, a time in which mental illness was very rarely talked about, let alone embraced. The story follows 16-year-old Holden Caulfield for two days after he is dismissed from prep school. Holden, confused and disheartened, looks for the truth while railing against the “phoniness” of the adult world. He becomes emotionally unstable and drained. 

The part that makes this book so interesting to readers across the timeline is the narration. Holden’s volatile and disillusioned attitude contributes heavily to his clueless perspective on the idea that he is really struggling with his health. Through his narration, the reader is able to see the world through his lens, and it becomes clear that Holden uses humor as a coping mechanism. As the plot progresses, Holden establishes that his problematic relationship with intimacy makes him feel singled out from other boys, and he expresses his frustration in not understanding his place in the world. Oftentimes, his outlook becomes extremely bleak and depressing, almost as if he sees no purpose or value in his life.

Many negative reviews include the fact that Holden is simply a rich, spoiled, and somewhat bratty teenager who constantly complains. However, if you take the time to really decipher Holden’s mannerisms and thoughts, you might find that he is similar to you in more ways than you realize.