Abstract or Introduction
There aren’t many heroes in contemporary literature who have aroused so much
devotion, imitation or controversy as J.D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield. Salinger's novel
The Catcher in the Rye, which was banned in America after its first publication, has
influenced teenagers and adolescents until today.
The very first lines of Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye apparently indicate that
something has happened to Holden that perhaps most readers would not want to know
about: "If you really want to hear about it...". So, what is The Catcher in the Rye
actually about? It is the story of Holden Caulfield, a teenager growing up in New York,
who has been expelled from school. In an attempt to deal with this situation, he decides
to take a trip to New York, but this trip becomes a complete horror trip, during which
he frequently suffers from unexplained depression, feelings of isolation and thoughts of
suicide. Finally, his trip ends in a nervous breakdown.
Told as a monologue, the book describes Holden's thoughts and activities of this threeday
odyssey. Therefore the reader is forced to see social problems from Holden's point
of view. Holden is confused about much of the world around him and he is disillusioned
with life. One of the most significant features of Holden Caulfield’s character and
personality is his relationship to other people. The way he feels and thinks about others
as well as the way he treats them, reflects his difficulties with the world he lives in.
Undoubtedly, there is a close link between Holden’s attitude towards social conventions
and requirements since the people Holden is involved with represent a part of society.
On the other hand, relationships always imply feelings, which enables the reader to get
an insight into Holden’s emotional frame of mind. [...]
- Quote paper
- Dirk Lepping (Author), 2000, Holden's conflicts in J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye", Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/15999