The Catcher in the Rye was published in 1951 by J. D. Salinger. It was originally published for adults, but soon became popular with adolescent readers for its theme of teenage alienation and desperation. Newspapers began publishing articles about the “Catcher Cult” as an icon for teenage rebellion. The Catcher in the Rye was a success; within two months of its publication
I have to admit that although I had heard of The Catcher in the Rye, I only knew it by title. I had to do some reading and first hand intensive research on The Catcher in the Rye. It has been translated into almost all of the world’s major languages. Around 250,000 copies are sold each year with total sales of more than 65 million books.
The Catcher in the Rye was banned in several countries and in some schools in the United States because, according to Catholic World reviewer Riley Hughes, it has an “excessive use of amateur swearing and coarse language”. One diligent parent counted 237 appearances of the word “goddam” in the novel, along with fifty-eight of “bastard”, thirty-one of “Chrissake” and six of “fuck”.
Sounds like a typical modern novel to me, but we are talking about the 1950’s. The language used in The Catcher in the Rye was almost unheard of for that period.
The Catcher in the Rye | The Plot
The catcher in the Rye is about a privileged, troubled youth named Holden Caufield. A teenage protagonist and a slightly rebellious sixteen year old. Holden is expelled from Pencey Prep School, which is the fourth school from which he has been expelled. The plot details Holden’s experiences in New York City after he is expelled from the elite prep school.
After Holden is beaten up by his roommate Stradlater, he does not want to stay in the dorm or face his parents. He decides to stay in New York in a cheap hotel until the day he is expected home. Lonely and desperate, a hotel elevator operator helps him find a prostitute. Holden fails to have sex with the prostitute and ends up in a fight with her pimp.
He tries to convince his old girlfriend Sally Hayes to run away with him. Holden tries to find some kind of understanding and acceptance only to be disappointed, over and over again. At the point of a having a mental breakdown Holden finally returns home where things are no better.
Holden’s younger sister Phoebe even questions his negativism and asks Holden what he would like to be. Holden replies, he would like to be “the catcher in the rye” and explains that his job would be to prevent the children, who are playing nearby in a field of rye, from going over the cliff.
Holden has a break down and is sent to a psychiatric center in California after Mr. Antolini, his former English teacher makes sexual advances toward Holden and he flees home in horror.
The novel is known for its first person, insightful narration. The bulk of it is narrated in the form of flashbacks and digressions to help the reader to understand the characters and Holden himself.
The novel examines the importance of loyalty and “phoniness” of adulthood,”immorality and the perversion” of Holden, who uses religious slurs and freely discusses casual sex and prostitution.
In a 1953 interview with a high-school newspaper, Salinger admitted that the novel was “sort of” autobiographical, explaining that “My boyhood was very much the same as that of the boy in the book.”
Well my friends, that’s it for The Catcher in the Rye and this addition of Classic Novels. Hope you enjoyed a little insight into the author. Keep checking back for the next installment of Classic novels. If you would like to purchase a copy of this novel CLICK on the book below and enjoy.