The Catcher in the Rye, a modern classic of the coming of age genre is certainly one of the greatest creations of Jerome David Salinger. This book has served as a firestorm for controversy and debate. Critics have argued the moral issues raised by the book and the context in which it is presented. Salinger's tale of the human condition is fascinating and enlightening,yet incredibly depressing. The psychological battles of the novels main character, Holden Caulfield, serve as the basis for critical argument.
|JEROME DAVID SALINGER|
Holden Caulfield holds a place in the American psyche akin to Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer: an exquisitely rendered character with whom nearly anyone can identify. The book is chock full of mild to moderate swearing but it is in the service of being true to nature of a rebellious teen. There are also lots of sexual references,and everyone smokes and drinks- including the underage protagonist. People have used these instances in an effort to have the book banned. But those who would do so miss the point of the book,which is a compassionate tale of a child adrift in the world. It's an American classic that everyone should read.
|THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER|
The book begins with Holden directly addressing you,the reader,and he begins to retell the events over a three day period from last December. His story starts at Pencey Prep, a prestigious boarding school filled with "phonies", as Holden likes to call them. Caulfield's self-destruction over a period of time forces one to contemplate society's attitude towards the human condition. He is certain that all the world is out of step but him.
Flunking four subjects out of five, he has just been fired from Pencey Prep, his fourth school. Afraid to go home ahead of his bad news,he checks in at a cheap New York Hotel. In the next 48 hours,he encounters in-numerous situations causing Holden to be forlorn. Scolded by testy cab drivers,seared by his best girl's refusal to elope with him, and surrounded by an adult world of "phonies" makes him lose control. He gets sickly drunk and being desperately lonely makes him call a prostitute to just chat and keep him company. He sneaks home for a midnight chat with his perky ten-year-old sister,breaks down and cries on her bed. In a moving moment he tells her what he would really like to do and be:
"I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game
in this big field of rye and all.Thousands of little kids ...
And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff.What I
have to do,I have to catch everybody if they start to go
over the cliff ... That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the
catcher in the rye and all..."
At a time (1951) when "teen" and "adolescence" were barely concepts, J.D.Salinger captured the adolescent voice and way of thinking more intricately than just about anyone before or since.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :-
Sohini Bhattacharya is a fashion diva, a bibliophile and a movie nut! Completing her graduation in English from Asutosh college, Kolkata, Sohini manages the fashion column and the P.R department in ExPRESS Magazine! Some of her other articles include :-
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