A.P U.S History
September 5th, 2013
The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye, follows the story of Holden Caulfield, who serves the role of protagonist and narrator. Holden tells the story of his younger sixteen year old self, whilst under treatment in a sanatorium. As a teenager, Holden was a rebel feeling the need to not care, or try hard in anything he does, thus “getting the ax” out of three schools, and soon to be his fourth. His latest school is a prep school, titled Pencey, is located in the rural town of Agerstown, Pennsylvania. Failing three of his four classes there, all but English, Holden is to get out on Christmas leave on Wednesday; however after a fight with his roommate ensues, inciting him to collect his money, and hit the road for New York early. His parent’s apartment is located in Manhattan, so he decides to take a taxi there. Holden has quite the journey in New York from his arrival on Sunday, to Wednesday, when he is actually scheduled to go home. His journey includes the reunion of fellow friends, of him and his brother, teachers, and past crushes. Holden is one of four siblings, including two brothers and a sister. His sister, one of his closest siblings, is a ten year old girl named Phoebe. Her character is that of a very sweet and caring girl, but also very intelligent for her age. She is one of Holden’s only sources of happiness during the narration of the book. Allie was Holden’s younger brother, who tragically died of leukemia when Holden was only thirteen. Holden refers to Allie quite often, and even quite occasionally asks for his help, he also carries a glove of Allie’s favorite poems on it.
D.B. is Holden’s only older sibling, who is big into writing short stories. However, D.B. moved to Hollywood and mainly relies on prostitution to get by. Ackley and Stradlater are Holden’s dimwitted roommates, while at Pencey Prep. Holden also meets up with a variety of other acquaintances during his adventure including, Mr. Spencer, Carl Luce, Mr. Antolini, Maurice, and Sunny. J.D. Salinger joined the army and fought in Europe during World War 2, after his safe arrival in 1946, he started writing novels. The Catcher in the Rye was written in the 1946 during post World War 2, however it wasn’t later published until 1951. The novel features many of Salinger’s past life experiences. He portrayed his mistakes in his novel to help others and lead them down the right path, as opposed to the rough and treacherous path that he took. Growing up in New York, he lived in a luxurious house in Manhattan, Salinger bounced from prep school to prep school, until finally in 1934 when he was enrolled in the Valley Forge Military Academy and graduated two years later in 1936.
The Catcher in the Rye had a tremendous impact on the teenage way of life in mid-20th century. The book taught, and in many eyes, introduced the thought of teenage rebellion and doing whatever one pleased. It questioned societal expectations and made an impact on the way people looked at growing up, stirring a lot of controversy in the process. Many believe that the ideal of this book influenced Mark Chapman to…