The Catcher in the Rye - My View
J.D. Salinger has crafted a majestic masterpiece in "The Catcher in the Rye". The novel is written in the first person perspective of the narrator and fictional main character, Holden Caulfield, as he travels New York after being expelled from Pency Prep, his fourth academy. During the novel, Holden smokes, lies, checks into hotels, swears, gets bitter (especially bitter) and eventually becomes sick by the end of the novel with something not unlike tuberculosis.
The most interesting part of the novel is Holden himself. He is a deep, three-dimensional character. He hates and he loves, while also being broken. The greatest part of the novel is reading Holden's monologue, by far. It's funny and hilarious while also prompting thought- his dialogue is complex. What's strange though, is that he seems like a shallow character. He has a very negative look on most things and most things cannot live to his standards. He throws the term "phony" around like candy. The most important part of the novel though, is how Holden reacts to other characters.
Holden hates most people he meets. In the book, he claims that people are shallow and phony, that they don't think. The greatest problem with him is that he has very little empathy for people outside of his family. He doesn't understand the viewpoints of other people. He may claim to, but he never changes. Holden is symbolic of the disillusioned child growing up, he is too young to see why he should be disillusioned, but too old to ignore the wrongs of society.
So it comes as no surprise that one of the greater driving points behind the story is how Holden fails to connect with other people. He constantly yearns to have friends and enjoy time in public, but his personality stabs him as he tries. Loneliness and alienation is a huge part of the story. Holden tries to dance with middle-aged women, he asks strangers where ducks go in the winter, he even phones old childhood friends in desperation. None of it works.
And in the end, Holden spends time with his younger sister Phoebe, whom he cares for very much. He may act immaturely and behave poorly throughout the story, but all of it is forgiven as he opens up to his sister. We see the most human part of Holden near the end of the story, when he is with his sister. We see the dynamics of his character fluctuate. And in the end, he is only human. And that is what counts.