I read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger last month. This novel is considering as a reference in literature in the United States. Published in the 50’s, it’s now a success sold 60 million times. This illustration of the American society was criticized as it was published, because of the hard themes it raises. Actually, Salinger evokes sexuality, alcohol and even prostitution.
According to me, even if the language used is sometimes coarse, it’s not hard to be greatly interested in this story of a lost teenager completely depressed in a lively town as New York.
Another point of Salinger’s writing in The Catcher in the Rye which probably bothered the readers is the character of Holden Caulfield who is an absolute antihero. This boy is out of his parent’s expectations; he doesn’t manage to stay in a school more than a few months, he’s too “wild” for these rich schools; he has the appearance of a perfect looser and, even worse, he seems to be inefficient to love anyone or anything.
Finally, the title of the book is a reference to the poem of Robert Burns named “Comin’ Through the Rye”. At the end of the novel, Holden talks with his sister about this poem and he explains that if there is something he wants to be later, it’s to save children from their death if they risk falling, as in the poem of Robert Burns. This is the last proof of his own sensibility, which is really hidden at the beginning of the novel and which we discover all along the book.
In brief, Holden Caulfield is maybe a projection of our fears, a projection of what we all dread to be, a looser, a poor person out of the society, and out of the time.