The Catcher in the Rye catches the eye.


Max Adams, Staff reporter

“The Catcher in the Rye” is a classic American novel written by Jerome David Salinger. Originally published in serial form around 1945 to 1946, the story was later expanded and turned into a novel in 1951. The story follows Holden Caulfield in a coming of age story that deals with major themes of the superficiality of society, felling alienated from those around you and the loss of childhood innocence. The story starts as Holden is kicked out of the boarding school he was attending in Pennsylvania. He gets into a fight with his roommate at the school afterwards and ends up roaming the streets of New York. He decides that before he has to go back to his family and tell them about his expulsion, and face the consequences, he should go around the city and find a way to feel better about himself. He goes from one location to another, reflects on his life, and tries to find some sort of companionship or belonging in the city. He doesn’t succeed in finding any sort of real companionship/belonging, but is shown returning to his parents and family, attending a new school in September.

The story is rich with critique of the society of the 1940’s to 1950’s, but is still just as relevant in its critique of modern society. From the many “phonies” the main character derides, to the lack of empathy displayed by people, to the hypocrisy committed by people, and the loss of innocence when having to grow.

It richly uses Holden’s journey in growing up to display its theme  of alienation with Holden constantly feeling alone, even when surrounded by others. His journey across New York has him feeling as though no one truly understands him, and that all the people around him are obsessed with themselves and being famous. It shows the dissatisfaction with society that can still be seen today, and is able to display the reasons how this can occur.

One of the points that can be a negative part for some is the tone of the story, and how the main character perceives the world around him. His cynicism can be downside of the story to people, he brushes off a lot of people in the story as just in it for the fame or money. Holden does give some good insight to the world around him, but also can be seen as just quick blow off everything in society while not giving it any thought.

The story may not hold the same punch it did on its original release date, but it is still classic novel that helped to define and give a voice to a younger generation. I would recommend trying out the novel, and seeing why it had such a big impact on a generation of people.