The Catcher In The Rye
By J.D. Salinger
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The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger ranked # 64 on The Modern Library's Top 100 Novels list as selected by its Board Members.
The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J. D. Salinger. First published in the United States in 1951, the novel remains controversial to this day; it was the 13th most frequently challenged book of the 1990s, according to the American Library Association. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, it has become one of the most famous literary works of the 20th century, and a common part of high-school curricula across the United States and Canada.
Its protagonist, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage angst. The book, written in the first person, relates Holden's experiences in New York City in the days after he runs away from his University-preparatory school Pencey Prep.
Holden is a tall sixteen-year-old high-school junior who has just been expelled (for academic failure) from a school called Pencey Prep. Although he is intelligent and sensitive, Holden narrates in a cynical and jaded voice. He finds the hypocrisy and ugliness of the world around him almost unbearable, and through his cynicism he tries to protect himself from the pain and disappointment of the adult world. However, the criticisms that Holden aims at people around him are also aimed at himself. He is uncomfortable with his own weaknesses, and at times displays the exact phoniness, meanness, and superficiality as the people that he tells the audience he despises.
The most profound aspect of Holden's character is his desire to protect children. Relatedly, Holden fails to view himself as the child that he is. Since he believes he is an adult, he is therefore unwilling to be helped. The Catcher in the Rye is a metaphor for this.
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