English III H
27 September 2016
The Catcher in the Rye = Coming of Age?
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D Salinger is about the main character, Holden getting expelled from yet another school. Holden got kicked out of Pencey Prep, since he was failing every class except english. He’s terrified of telling his parents this news, so he decides to spend a couple days in New York City before his parents expect him home for winter break. During this weekend, he encounters many people and goes through many situations, such as ordering a hooker and dancing in a bar with women.
A major theme in The Catcher in the Rye is a coming of age, which can be shown because, in the beginning of his weekend in New York City, it’s apparent that …show more content…
I now believe that it really isn’t the quintessential coming of age novel. I don’t think it’s a perfect example, even if it is a coming of age novel. My main reason being the book isn’t very relatable to people today. For example, people nowadays don’t spend a weekend alone in a hotel. People Holden’s age can’t, and don’t sit in bars. But, back in the 50s, it was a more common practice. Additionally, how many teens today would “order” a hooker? However, back then even though it was illegal it was a more common practice. The book is too outdated for people of today’s society to relate to. It’s not just the content, but also the style and language used. According to Ariel Levenson, an English teacher at the Dalton School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, “... even students who like the book tend to find the language -'phony’, ‘her hands were lousy with rocks’, the relentless ‘goddams’- grading and dated.” (Schuessler) So, not only did very few students liked the book but the few that did, thought the language was …show more content…
These days, teenagers seem more interested in getting into Harvard than in flunking out of Pencey Prep.” (Schuessler) Most people Holden’s age are not worried about failing out, but more worried about doing whatever it takes to get into high ranked colleges. The world today is much more competitive than it was 60 years ago, which also makes the novel unrelatable since most people reading the novel can’t connect to Holden’s predicament, therefore, not making it the epitome of a coming of age novel.
All in all, my initial viewpoint has changed after reading Schuessler’s “Get a Life, Holden Caulfield”. The Catcher in the Rye if definitely not a quintessential coming of age novel, as the relatability is low. While it is a coming of age novel, the main character showed very little growth and is no longer a novel that kids Holden’s age could learn from and connect