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A Reader’s Guide to The Catcher in the Rye
Though J.D. Salinger’s book, The Catcher in the Rye, has served as a major controversial element of fiction within our reading society, it does, in fact, contain another side to the story. Holden Caulfield, who is sixteen, has just flunked out of another boarding school that his parents have sent him to. It seems that he has become very experienced in failing courses. The only classes that he manages to pass are the ones that repeat the same teaching material that he has previously learned in another school.
During our experience with Holden at Pencey, which is the boarding school he currently resides at, we learn of his great negativity that he has against most of the members of this institution. Holden can find something that just seems to annoy him in every situation that he encounters and in every place that he may be. One of the most used words within the story is "Phony." Holden often seems to describe most others as being "Phony." The words they say, the ways they act, and their personalities towards others often appear to him as being "Phony." During almost every scene that takes place within the story, the reader will encounter, numerously, Holden’s dislike for the surroundings and the people. This is what makes up the negative aura that surrounds the book.
Holden spends several days wandering around New York City before he decides to return home. He is supposed to arrive home on Wednesday; however, he decided to leave the school early so he could have a few days to relax and prepare for his homecoming. He is frightened at what his family will say to him failing yet another boarding school. While his father wanted him to attend Yale, he just does not seem to have what it takes to be a serious student. There is something that just holds Holden back from achieving what he wants from life. While he is in New York, he has several meetings with old acquaintances. These are previous friends of his that he has always seemed to like very well. However, within some of these confrontations, we learn of some of the negativity’s that seems to cross his mind. After the first few chapters, the reader can be tempted to stop reading because of this mood.
The reader never really learns of the experiences that Holden has after he returns home.
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