In The Rye is my favorite book. I have read It more than any other work of literature, and Im a literature major. I have read classic upon classic, but no other work has captured me the way Catcher has managed to. In the light of J. D. Challengers death many of my friends have, upon my recommendation, endeavored to read the famous work. To my dismay, most have returned with the response, I don’t get it, or I can’t say I liked it, and perhaps I should have given them forewarning. Catcher is not in any way a feel good book. The result after reading it is not a sense of satisfaction.
In fact, it leaves the reader feeling somewhat the same way the main character, Holder, ends up, which Is a bit broken and confused, unsure of the future and what to make of It all. In the end Holder Is in a Psychiatric facility where a psychoanalyst asks him if Hess going to apply himself when he goes back to school. Holders response is, Its such a stupid question, in my opinion. I mean how do you know what you’re going to do until you do it This single line sums up the entire feel of the book. Holder doesn’t know what he will do, what he wants to do, he is perpetually at a loss to his place In the world.
The story does not follow the traditional fiction arch either. This arch seeks to move a character or situation from one state to another – to effect change, basically where the story builds to a dramatic high note and resolves in a nice tidy bow. Actually, the story is remarkably one note. It is not really a story in any The Art of Fiction sort of way it is what I would call simply… A moment. It is a tale of a sixteen-year-old boy, who despite his status being white, male, strait, sophisticated, and rich, does not fit into the asses world around him. From the very beginning
Holder Is cast as the wanderer, the loner, an Isolated Individual. He has been kicked out of yet another school, and does not yet belong at home. The setting of the story Is what happens when a young boy is cast off into the world and left to his own devices with no responsibility and no attachments. Holders character is complex, and the reader develops a sort of love hate relationship with him. On one hand he lies, uses foul language, gets poor grades, is sometimes irrational, and on the other hand he is sensitive, smart, cares for others, respects women, and seeks to preserve innocence.
While some may call him an unreliable narrator, one cannot help but share In his particular view of the world. When reading catcher you feel as If you’re In on the real story. Its a unique relationship the reader has with Holder. Its as if you are getting to read his Journal. He shares everything, not Just telling you what he does, but what he really thinks. He tells you all the stuff nobody ever says out loud. He tells you the truth of how he sees things, and In that there is credibility. There are other reasons the book holds appeal for me, and so many others.
The spirit of the book is much the name as the American Split, young, defiant, truth loving. It Is a modern version of Tom Sawyer or Hack Finn. Holders character also appeals to people because he is able to rebel and get away with it, in a way that in reality, most of us feel we never could. Part of the appeal is the fantasy of being a rebel with out a cause. A reviewer has described the book as Emotional without being sentimental, dramatic without being melodramatic, and honest without simply being obscene. Holder Is confused about his place In the large scheme of things and continues to speak to and for those no Tell ten same way.
Basically ten summary Is you nave a CIO, won Is unhappy with life and the way the world works, and he doesn’t really know why, but he knows he doesn’t really fit in. He doesn’t really care about the things other people care about football games, school, or the future. He sees these things as trivial, but its what the world says is important. So, what do you do if you’re the person who can’t care about what other people tell you is important Holder lives in the moment – good moments, bad moments, he Just takes them as they come.
He admits that sometimes he Just goes things on impulse, and he doesn’t know why he does them, other than it seemed like a good idea at the time. Part of the reason people find Holders character unappealing is that he often lies to those around him, but most often he lies to protect people, to protect the delusions they have of the world. For example, the woman on the bus Mrs.. Morrow, whose son Ernie went to school at Pence. Holder thinks her son is doubtless the biggest bastard that ever went to Pence, but he tells Mrs.. Morrow what a great guy her son is, and makes up a whole flattering tale about Ernie.
Another example is with his history professor Mr.. Spencer. The whole scene is Holder sitting in Spencer home, being talked to by the professor about his poor academic performance. Holder tells the reader things like I had to sit there and listen to that crap, but tells the professor lies because he doesn’t want to hurt the guys feelings. Holder does not let people completely off the hook with regards to their delusions. He Judges them for it, calls them phony. Deep down he can’t believe that others are not seeing the truth. He thinks they deny it, cover it up, or are really too ignorant and stupid to see the truth.
He believes the closer one gets to adult DOD the more of a phony they become. That is why he wants to be the catcher in the rye, catching all the children before they go off the cliff, or rather before they loose their innocence. I can divide the world into two groups people who get Catcher In The Rye, and people who don’t. Its not necessarily a negative thing to be in the latter group. It probably means you are relatively happy, content, and feel a sense of belonging. Catcher speaks to discontent, rebellion, disillusionment. Its rawness is the rawness of one laid open without shame.