Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Catcher in the Rye

Author : J.D. Salinger
Genre : Literature
First Published : 1945

Brief: This novel centres around a high-school boy; Holden Caulfield. It is written in first person, as narrated by Caulfield himself.

The first thing that struck me when I read the first few pages of this book was how much it sounded like I was reading a personal blog instead of a much-talked about novel. It wasn’t so much of the writing style (being in first person), but it was more of the profanity and swearing that appeared in almost every page that made me feel like I was just reading some random individual’s journal. I managed to get over the countless “craps” and “Chrissakes” after a while and found a few interesting points worth mentioning.

Holden’s story, as how he views the world, is none at all conclusive. His perspective on things invokes a major question. Was he merely a rebellious teenager or was he a schizophrenic? His thoughts were incoherent, tending to jump from one topic to another, yet he expressed each random thought with clarity. He also appeared to be unusually irrational at times, like the time he wouldn’t stop asking cab drivers where the ducks disappeared to in winter. There were also some incidences in the story suggesting that Caulfield was delusional. It’s quite obvious that he’s a cynic who hated almost everything and everyone. On the other hand, he was also shown to be extremely sincere and protective when it came to kids or women. Personally, Caulfield to me looked like he was on the onset of having a mental illness. Rebellious teenagers are usually attention seekers, something Caulfield wasn’t really fond of.

Overall, I wouldn’t say this was a great book. There was no high point in the story, though it does have some interesting moments, and it definitely leaves you with some food for thought.

J.D. Salinger has passed away on the 27th of January 2010 at the age of 91. Salinger died of natural causes at his home. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in a small, remote house in Cornish, N.H. (Associated Press).

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