An unlikely hero – Holden Caulfield is relatable to many young adults growing up in a conventional setting – forced normality, failed parenting, social anxiety. Those who grew up separated from their parents or attended a boarding school can easily relate. To the feelings of angst and alienation within our protagonist.
He blatantly points out all the wrongs with society and we sympathize with him. Holden is in this situation through not fault of his own – he simply has it rough. The tragic expectation to conform with the ways things are, and not question or think freely, is what has caused him to become the victim. It really is.
J.D Salinger released this novel in 1951 and it went on to receive worldwide criticism. Many hailing it as a literary classic, and others an inappropriate piece of work. Holden, the protagonist, retells his story as it occured over the last several days, and is explicit and raw with his words.
This is the second or third time I’ve read the book in my twenties, and I can still relate to certain scenarios that Holden goes through. As an introvert, sometimes it is difficult to fit in with all of societies’ niceties. It really is. One can easily find themselves falling into their own world of unrealistic expectations.
The title of the book, “Catcher in the Rye”, comes from his idea of wanting to protect kids from harm. To hold onto their innocence and prevent them from falling into the adulthood trap.
All-in-all, the book is worth reading as a young adult, as it doesn’t sugarcoat the reality that comes with growing up. It’s damn depressing at times, I swear it is, but you should read it. All of us face problems, but projecting and overcoming them as a child can be far more complex.
J.D. Salinger’s novel instills the message of remaining hopeful and true to ourselves, and not become a phony.