The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye was one of those books I bought and put in my library many years ago and unfortunately couldn’t find the right time to read. In a lesson where we compared translation at university, a friend of mine chose this book and talked about how much she liked it in a very unexcited and exhausting way. I don’t know why, but she was lying clumsily. I think I’ve always tried to stay away from this book ever since. And I wanted to give Salinger a break when Franny and Zooey, unfortunately, became a book I couldn’t read very fondly. Oh, but this book!


The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye will remain the last book I read by Salinger after Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey. I read Nine Stories with such great pleasure that it is still in my mind. If you haven’t read it, I would say make time for it as soon as possible. And The Catcher in the Rye… I have to say right away, yes, this is not a book that everyone will love. If you love Holden Caulfield, the book will turn into a beautiful fairy tale, but unfortunately, you won’t like it if you don’t like Caulfield.

I liked Caulfield. I loved how he mourned for his brother in his own way, that he sincerely loved his other sibling Phoebe, his courage, his various habits, his loneliness among the crowds, and most of all that he was growing up without ever giving up being himself.

It was an incredible experience to read what was actually going on in the head of a very rebellious and lazy adolescent who didn’t care about anything. Caulfield’s thinking of the ducks made me think of all the things I was thinking at the time. I regretted it a little that I grew up and stopped thinking about what I thought in the past. Anyways! Fortunately, I didn’t read this book when I was young; otherwise, I would leave it halfway and throw it aside. If you read it, I’d say give Caulfield a chance. Enjoy!

The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all.

Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

J.D. Salinger’s classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time‘s 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950’s and 60’s it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read.

J. D. Salinger

Famous not only for his writing but also for his private nature, J.D. Salinger is the author of the famous 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye. The autobiographic nature of the novel became the voice of a whole generation of young men wedged in frustration over the conventions of society. An immediate best-seller, the success of The Catcher in the Rye, however, did not persuade Salinger to publish another novel.

Jerome David Salinger was born in New York City on January 1, 1919. He was the youngest son of a rabbi, Sol Salinger and Miriam. Not proving to be a good student, Salinger was sent to Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania after failing at the McBurney School in New York. Salinger later studied at Ursinus College and New York University. Salinger published a story for the first time at the age of 21 when he met and befriended Whit Burnett who was the founder and editor of the Story Magazine at Columbia University.

Burnett encouraged Salinger’s writing talent and published his stories in his magazine. Soon Salinger’s work started making its way to more publications such as the Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s. Just when Salinger’s writing career had started taking off, he was interrupted by the break of World War II and had to serve in the Army (1942-1944). It was during this time that Salinger started working on his masterpiece, giving birth to the legendry character of Holden Caulfield.

The trauma from the war resulted in a nervous breakdown after which Salinger was hospitalized. While under treatment, Salinger met his first wife Sylvia, probably a German Nazi. The two stayed in marriage for a short period of 8 months only. In 1955, Salinger married again, Claire Douglas, daughter, of a noted art critic. Maintaining the marriage for a little more than 10 years, the couple had two children. Six years after his divorce, a new relationship bloomed when he noticed the name of Joyce Maynard, whose story in New York Times Magazine impressed Salinger after which he started a series of intense correspondence with her.

Joyce soon moved in with Salinger and was lashed out after 10 months. In 1998 Joyce wrote about her experience with Salinger, describing him to be an obsessive lover. Maynard was not the end of Salinger’s love life. He was romantically involved with actress Ellen Joyce for some time after which he married Colleen O’Neill, a young nurse who remained his wife until his death on January 27, 2010.

Salinger was showered with praise when his novel, The Catcher in the Rye was published in 1951. Despite also receiving some very harsh criticism on grounds of promoting immoral views, the book, ironically became the most taught book of the 20th century with its inclusion in the curriculum of high school literature. A best seller for life, the book has sold over 120 million copies all over the world. According to John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman, the reason for his crime was in the pages of The Catcher in the Rye which was found in Chapman’s possession at the time of his arrest.

Although Salinger continued to write till the end of his days, The Catcher in the Rye remains his only published novel. He led a private life of immense secrecy and speculation. Some sources believe there may be at least 10 completed novels hidden in Salinger’s house.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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