Catcher in the Rye

Satisfactory Essays
The Catcher in the Rye---What was He Thinking?
Nash K. Burger wrote a review of the book, The Catcher in the Rye, which was published in the New York Times on July 16, 1951. In his review, Burger idolizes the book, calling it “an unusually brilliant first novel”. Burger feels that this book has wonderful language and portrays the typical teenager. He thinks that Holden has a cheerful disregard and that there is nothing wrong with him. He also feels that Holden’s mistakes are not caused by him, but by the adult world. This book is totally opposite of how he categorizes it. In fact, Holden has is far from typical. The language he uses is preposterous and he always jumps to assumptions.
Burger’s first thought that Holden is a typical teenager is way off. Typical teenagers do not flunk out of school after school. An example of this is, “They kicked me out. I wasn’t supposed to come back after Christmas vacation on account of I was flunking all four subjects and not applying myself and all.” Typical teenagers also do not go and stay in a hotel and hire a hooker, “When I opened the door, this prostitute was standing there.” and then ask her, “Don’t you feel like talking for a while?” The last thing he does that is totally untypical of a teenager is to propose to a girl and then start calling her names. If this is someone’s idea of typical, they need to re-evaluate typical teenage life. Next Burger says that the book is told in wonderful language. This book is absolutely, without a doubt, filled with very vulgar language. There is absolutely nothing wonderful about Holden’s language. Every other thought that comes out of his head is filled with curse words. A good example of this would be when he went to Phoebe’s school and he found “fuck you” written on the wall. This is Holden’s reaction to the profanity, “It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them -- all cockeyed, about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days. I kept wanting to kill whoever’d written it. I figured it was some perverty bum that’d sneaked in the school late at night to take a leak or something and then wrote it on the wall. I kept picturing myself catching him at it, and how I’d smash his head on
Get Access