The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and the main character, Holden Caulfield, are often discussed and referred to, yet there are still a lot of folks who seem to miss the point of the story. I have read reviews that suggest Holden is the epitome of the me generation and a self-centred bore, this really seems to miss the point. If these reviewers had actually read the book properly they would have seen the caring and considerate side of Holden’s character, which was clearly evident in his interactions with the nuns, his past teachers and his sister. Another indication that Holden was not as self-centred as these reviewers claimed is his feelings of sadness about the less than popular students.


There is one review I read that touches on a point that is quite possibly the crucial aspect of Holden’s behaviour, his obsession with his deceased brother and the bullied suicide student. These events have obviously had a large impact on Holden and his psyche, this may account for his ┬áindifference towards studying subjects that seem to have no purpose to him.


There are a lot of reviews that understandably identify with Holden. Though I am not too sure there are many from as privileged a background as Holden and still as lost as him. Holden is a lost teenager without direction, desire or purpose. He is caught on the cusp of adulthood in a world of high expectations of the privileged, and yet not having any idea what he wants to do or where he wants to go. Haven’t we all been there? I don’t know too many people who knew what they wanted to do or where they wanted to go in their teens, myself included. I really didn’t find direction till I found my love at 35, and I still really haven’t stopped wanting to learn and explore.


Yes, Holden does behave badly in some situations, seriously are we all angels? Have we all not carried out deeds that we frown upon as we grow up? Give the guy a break.


I hadn’t read this book since I was 14, though I was thinking of reading it in 1980 when Chapman murdered John Lennon, trying to understand what may have triggered him to do so, though I didn’t as I thought it may give credence to this individuals actions. Having reread this as an adult with a mix of experiences in my short life, I read it with fresh eyes and enjoyed it immensely, and no there was nothing in this book that could account for the actions of Chapman in any way shape or form. Yes, I did sympathise and empathise with Holden, I too cannot stand fake people who say things just to look good in front of other people.