J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye

1459 Words6 Pages
Holden Caulfield, the narrator of The Catcher in the Rye, begins with the novel with an authoritative statement that he does not intend for the novel to serve as his life story. Currently in psychiatric care, this teenager recalls what happened to him last Christmas, the story which forms the narrative basis for the novel. At the beginning of his story, Holden is a student at Pencey Prep School, irresponsible and immature. Having been expelled for failing four out of his five classes, Holden goes to see Mr. Spencer, his History teacher, before he leaves Pencey. Mr. Spencer advises him that he must realize that "life is a game" and one should "play it according to the rules," but the sixteen year old, who has already left four private schools, dismisses much of what Spencer says. Holden returns to his dormitory where he finds Robert Ackley, an obnoxious student with a terrible complexion who will not leave Holden alone, and Ward Stradlater, Holden's roommate. Stradlater is conceited and arrogant, a Œsecret slob' who asks Holden to write an English composition for him. Stradlater prepares for a date with Jane Gallagher, a friend of Holden from several summers before, while Holden goes with Ackley and Mal Brossard into New York City to see a movie. When he returns, Holden does write the composition for Stradlater about his brother's baseball mitt. Holden tells about how Allie died of leukemia several years before and how he broke all of the windows in his garage out of anger the night that he died.
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