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Essay about The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J.D. Salinger. It is narrated by Holden Caulfield, a cynical teenager who recently got expelled from his fourth school. Though Holden is the narrator and main character of the story, the focus of Salinger’s tale is not on Caulfield, but of the world in which we live. The Catcher in the Rye is an insatiable account of the realities we face daily seen through the eyes of a bright young man whose visions of the world are painfully truthful, if not a bit jaded. Salinger’s book is a must-read because its relatable symbolism draws on the reader’s emotions and can easily keep the attention of anyone.
Salinger’s full use of symbolism goes unnoticed until his novel is read a second or third time. Most of it is very cryptic, but once it has been deciphered, it is truly easy to relate to. The difficulty of coming of age is a well-illustrated, recurring theme. Throughout the story, Holden battles with the harsh reality of becoming an adult by fighting anything that relates to adulthood, yet he takes advantage of the grown-up opportunities handed to him. Every teenager gets to that age where they are so close to adulthood, it scares and entices them at the same time. On the one hand, the individual does not want to be considered a grown-up; however, the growing teenager wants to take advantage of the opportunities that he or she is suddenly being presented with. Holden Caulfield is the embodiment of an anxious teenager struggling as he becomes an adult, and therefore defines what coming of age entails.
From page one, the reader learns that Holden is not a happy person. He does not exactly start off in the most cliché form. He starts out by saying, “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing...


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...s, but they are painted as if they will change his life forever. Finding out whether or not they do is where the interest is drawn.
J.D. Salinger is known for his infamous novel, The Catcher in the Rye. It is an intriguing story of a young man throwing all caution to the wind as he experiences life. He tells a story of inhibition while growing up which makes this 50’s tale timeless. With the use of relatable, emotional symbolism, Salinger and Caulfield draw on the reader’s attention to illustrate of a picture of the harsh realities of real life. After telling his story to the world, Holden Caulfield leaves the audience with one powerful word of advice.
“Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” (Salinger 277)


Works Cited
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Company, 1951. 1-277. Print.


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