The Catcher In The Rye: Book Review Essay, Research Paper
The Catcher In The Rye: Book Review
December 14, 1996
The Catcher In The Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, is a fictional novel
that was first published in 1965. The novel takes place in New York City and in
Pennsylvania over a duration of four days. This novel tells the story of an
emotionally disturbed teenager who has been kicked out of a boarding school. The
story is told from the point of view of a teenager who is the narrator of the
The main character in this novel is Holden Caulfield. He is sixteen years
old and serves as the narrator of this novel. Holden does not like anybody or
anything around him. He is an emotionally troubled kid and has many problems
with his life. Phoebe is Holden’s little sister. She is ten years old and
lives at home with their parents. Phoebe really admires and loves her big
This novel begins when Holden is in a mental hospital in California. The
novel is a flashback of the events over a time period of four days. The
flashback starts off when Holden gets kicked out of his boarding school, Pency
Prep, because he is failing most of his classes. Holden decides to go into New
York City for a couple of days until his parents will be expecting him home for
Christmas vacation. Holden goes to bars and meets with friends during this time.
On the third night, Holden decides to go and visit his sister, Phoebe. Phoebe
is one of the only people that Holden actually loves. Holden talks to Phoebe
about his life being a failure. He is trying to understand life and his place
in the world. Holden decides that he wants to go see Mr. Antolini, an old
teacher, to help him get a better understanding of his life. At Mr. Antolini’s
home, Holden discusses many of the problems that he is facing. Mr. Antolini
tells Holden that he has to learn not to hate everyone around him. He has to
learn to love people. Holden is told that he has to think about his future. He
has to decide when he is going to start to take life seriously and apply himself
in school. Holden’s conversation with Mr. Antolini is the climax of the novel.
This is the point of the novel when Holden starts to listen and understand his
problems. He realizes that it is time he put his life back on the right track.
The next day, Holden returns home to his family. Holden is taken directly to a
mental hospital in California. The hospital is where Holden is before the
Holden was a very true-to-life character. Holden’s problems are similar
to many teenagers of today. A lot of teenagers do not know what they want in
life just like Holden. Holden has many problems in school similar to the
probelms other kids have in school. Mr. Antolini says to Holden, ?Many, many
men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now.?
(189). His statement is an example that shows that Holden is not the only
person in the world with these problems. Their problems might not be as severe
as Holden’s, but they are similar. Many teenagers don’t know what they want to
do in the future just like Holden. Holden is a very true-to-life character,
because his problems relate to the problems of many young people today.
The reader of this novel might dislike some of the actions and find them
to be unrealistic. It is unrealistic that a sixteen year old kid would go to
New York City for four days by himself with no one worrying about where he is.
In real life, most kids would not have the money to go into New York City for
four days. A normal school would contact the parents if the child was expelled.
Therefore, the parents will know that the kid is coming home and the kid will
not be able to go off on his own for four days without supervision. This novel
had some actions in it that just would not happen in real life.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed reading this novel. I can relate a lot of
the problems that Holden was facing to people that I know. This novel kept my
attention, because I wanted to know what was going to happen to Holden. The
author probably wrote this novel to relate some of the problems that he had in
life with the problems of people reading this book. The author was attempting
to impress upon his readers that it is okay to not know what you want in life
when you are young. I believe that he was successful, because he made me
believe that it is okay for me not to know what I want to do in life. This
novel was very well written, and I would give it an eight on a ten point scale.