The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye is a story about a young man named Holden Caulfield and the experiences that he faces after being dismissed from school. This book contains a great deal of symbolism, but it can very easily be missed in its simple story line. The story line itself is very basic, and I do not feel that the plot is very well written. When taken the time to appreciate it, this book is without a doubt a classic.
As was stated in the first paragraph this story contains a great deal of symbolism. In the beginning of the story, when Mr. Spencer fails Holden, Holden is surprised about the failing grade and his mind begins to wander. He thinks about Central Park and how when the pond freezes over the duck leave. He shows a great deal of concern for what happens to the ducks. I believe that his concern for the ducks while the pond is frozen over symbolizes his concern for what he is going to do now that he has been dismissed from school. Much later on in the book Holden is talking with Horwitz, an angry cab driver, about what happens to the ducks and fish when the pond freezes over. Perhaps Holden is still unsure about what is in store for him and what he should do with his life.
Holden’s character does not relate to people very well. Throughout the story Holden is longing for a companion. He does not have a very good personality so instead he uses money to get the likeness of others. In many instances his buys drinks for women to win their respect, but most of the time he is not very interested. Although Holden is very generous, his generosity is limited to his wallet. However, Holden does care very much for his sister Phoebe. She is ten years old and is very charming and intelligent. Holden cares deeply for her because he lost his brother Allie to leukemia and he never wants to lose another sibling. Holden is also a very opinionated character. He is always concerned about other people’s personalities. In one scene Holden was listening to a conversation a couple was having and he was disgusted on how funny looking the two were, but he thought it is good that they were together. While he was listening to them he was becoming irritated at the guy because he would not stop talking about some pro-football game. I found it strange that he found it irritating because it was none of his business. Holden’s way of thinking can sometimes be very strange.
The Catcher in the Rye is overall a great book. J. D. Salinger did a great job of keeping the story simple yet interesting. Holden was a very interesting character that enhanced the book. After reading and analyzing this book I now understand why it is so renowned and respected.