Catcher in the Rye Essay

Submitted By ebzooki88
Words: 895
Pages: 4

E.B. J.D. Salinger’s realistic fiction novel The Catcher in the Rye is narrated by a 17-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield. Holden attended his private school, Pencey Prep, until his expulsion due to his lack of effort and failing grades. In response, he goes to New York to avoid reality and confrontation with his parents. As the novel progresses it comes clear that his mental health is unstable and he struggles with emotional conflicts. The author introduces multiple occurrences of injustice to the reader affecting various characters in different situations showing that it happens to everyone and there is nothing you can really do about it.
Throughout the novel there are many blameless people that are affected by these injustices, or in other words, bad things happen to good people. One example included Phoebe, Holden’s younger sister and her private school. When he is sitting on a stair case in Phoebe’s school when waiting to see her, he notices that the phrase “fuck you” is vandalized on the wall. When Holden is talking about it he describes how it “damn near drove [him] crazy” and how he “thought [about] how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant.” Holden even goes into more depth expressing his concern about “how they’d all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple days"(201). The deeper meaning of this is Holden’s concern for the innocence of the children and how it is such a shame that they have to be stripped of their childhood so young because of a phrase written on a wall. Another tragedy that strikes is the death of Holden’s brother Allie. Allie died from leukemia as a young boy. Innocent and defenseless, he passed away from something he nor any one person could prevent. Holden really cared about Allie and described him by saying he was truly intelligent, “about fifty times as intelligent” and how he was a “nice kid”(38). Allie did not have a chance to experience the many beauties in life for he died so terribly young.
A lot of injustices happen to victims of cruel and carless people who inflict it. It is rare for a person to not come across people who do not treat them with full and upmost respect. When Holden attended one of his many private schools, he took an Oral Expression class. In that class, if the student presenting their oral presentation even slightly went off topic, the teacher allowed, even encouraged the observing student to yell “Digression!” meaning to stray away from the subject. A specific example that Salinger included was where a boy in Holden’s class was often yelled at and how it was “terrible-in the first place” but he the boy, Richard, “was a very nervous guy” as well (183). The kids in his class wanted to embarrass him for respect of their peers and or their teacher’s approval. Another person in the book that did something bad for their own benefit was Holden. When Holden and Stradlater fight about Jane, Holden’s neighbor whom he fancies, Holden leaves his dorm. He soon seeks shelter in his friend Ackley’s room and when he is declined he makes up a story telling Ackley it was “about [him]” and that he was “defending [his] goddamn honor”. His lie