The catcher in the Rye; Jerome David Salinger

Literatura universal contemporánea del siglo XX. Narrativa. Novela. Adolescencia. Argumento

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  • Idioma: inglés
  • País: Ecuador Ecuador
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The Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield is a young boy who lives in New York. He has troubles with his studies and making friends. He doesn't like people's way of thinking and everything depresses him. Caulfield is a rebel and pessimistic boy because of his way of thinking about society.

Caulfield cannot adapt himself to a school easily. As he is so rebel he wants the society to think the way he does, that is why he says other people is wrong about their language. He was reservist; he did not like to talk to people about his problems because he thought they were all “phonies”.

Holden does not find something interesting in school, that is why he thinks it's not worth going to it. He has attended to many different private schools but he has been expelled from most of them. “Well... they'll (his parents) be pretty irritated about it. They really will. This is the fourth school I've gone to” (Salinger 9). During Christmas time he was expelled from Pencey Preparatory School because he failed most of his subjects, except for English, he is a very good composition writer. English was the only class he cared about so he passed it at any of the schools he went to.

Holden feels lonely and depress most of the time. He wants to talk to someone about his feelings as when he invites the taxi driver to have a drink with him. He pays for a prostitute in the Hotel so that she would talk to him, the problem is that he is so pessimistic that nobody seems to understand him or why he always feels the way he does.

Holden's vocabulary includes a number of words and phrases he uses over and over to criticizes people, such as “Phoney”, “People getting sore over stuff”, “someone being yellow”, he also uses various types of “Morons”, and also says “and all” quite a bit for not saying the whole thing. Holden tries to make older people, including his parents, talk the way he does because he thinks society is wrong and must be the way he is, as the best one. He thinks everything has a better way and wants people to follow him and his thoughts, including the language, which has to be changed. In this same topic there's one exception of Holden's perspective of people, that is his little sister Phoebe, whom he loves and respects completely. Holden thinks Phoebe is the only person in the world who understands and loves him.

Holden was not that sociable, he was very closed to his problems and wouldn't tell everybody what was going on in his life. He acted kind of immature sometimes and did not take advantage of some situations, as when he has to meet with his friend Lance at a bar all he did was talking about girls and Lance's relations:

“How's your sex life?” I asked him. He hated you to ask him stuff like that.

“Relax,” he said. “Just sit back and relax for Chris sake” (Salinger 144).

In some time in his weekend vacation in New York, Holden had this crazy idea of running off to Massachusetts and Vermont with his friend Sally and live there in a cabin, and he'll get a job etc… but in his really inside he did not want to do it: “We both hated each other's guts by that time. You could see there wasn't any sense trying to have an intelligent conversation. I was sorry as hell I'd started it” (Salinger 133).

As said before, Holden likes rebelty being that the reason why he cannot adapt to an educational system. He gets bored of schools too quickly and as a result he always gets expelled. He also thinks society is too materialist, based on money and social classes. Therefore he stays closed to his problems and does not share them with others. He did not feel secure about anything, with everything depressing him, it was a pretty difficult time for his age to know and find out what was the meaning of his life and what should he do to rise above.