Posted on January 31, 2019
Over the past 2 weeks, I have been following Holden Caulfield on his journey from Pencey Prep to New York and the things he does. I am about halfway through The Catcher in the Rye by J.d Salinger, and thus far I have found that alienation and just not fitting into the “normal” crowd has been a recurring topic in the book. I found this topic to be one of interest as it is something that everyone experiences in their life Nobody really fits into the group that is deemed to be the “social norm” , and the things that make us deviate from this norm are the things that make us unique. However, we do not always feel this way, and sometimes our differences can make us feel excluded in a way. “..practically the whole school except me was there..”. This quote goes to show us how Caulfield does not really fit into the student body, as he does not go to the rivalry football game that everyone attends. It really embodies how Holden did not fit in at Pencey.
A disagreement that I would have with the text would be that Holden is extremely unreliable in how he views things. The fact that he is in a mental institution or at least under special care is never explicitly stated. Although it is written that way because it is from the perspective of a 16 year old and is supposed to be unreliable, but I feel that it is written to the point where some crucial points might be missed by readers who do not fully pay attention to the text. Some aspects of the story have the potential to go right over the readers head, and if the reader does not pick up all these details the story becomes one that is extremely bland. I would rather have Salinger spell out some of these details explicitly out to the reader as to lead them to detect the hidden meaning behind some aspects of the story, so that it can be fully appreciated. However, at the same time I can understand why Salinger chose to write the story this way, and it really helps to make the story feel as authentic a possible.
Posted on January 21, 2019
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger follows Holden Caulfield on his journey after being expelled from Pency Prep for not applying himself in his classes and doing badly academically. So far, I have followed Holden on his journey to Manhattan, and it has been very interesting to say the least. Salinger did not provide the reader with many details, and I feel that this is due to the fact that Holden is not a reliable narrator. So far, we have not received many details as to Holdens background, and only know that he has been expelled from multiple schools before and that he is going home to Manhattan. So far, the problem within the story that we have been exposed to is his expulsion and what he is going to do before going home, but there is also the underlying theme that Holden did not fit in at school and has been dealing with the issue of isolation and alienation. We can see this when he chooses not to go to the big game and chooses to stay in his room instead.
I am enjoying the book so far, as it seems to tackle issues such as alienation from a perspective that is relatable to me as Holden is a similar age as me. The topic that he chooses to tackle is also something that many people experience at this age, and thus is very relatable. I also find that his tone at the start is one that is slightly scornful, as he is still coming to terms of getting expelled from yet another school and does not want to tell people as he is embarrassed by it. He is also upset when he finds out that his roommate has a date with a girl that he clearly has some feelings towards. Holden then changes his tone to one that has accepted his plight, and has chosen to make the most of it and really enjoy his newfound freedom before heading home by going to Manhattan and checking into a hotel for a few days before he is expected home. I also enjoy how Holden is an unreliable narrator ( as strange as that sounds). This train of thought is constantly disrupted, and this is extremely true for someone of his age. He would get easily distracted while telling the readers something, and will be sidetracked before returning to the topic. He is also brutally honest, especially when he tells us about Ackley or when Stradlater borrows his houndstooth jacket. This is truly a good representative of someone who is 16, as his thoughts are going to be raw and uncensored. There are also flashes of his past, but not enough for us to learn much about Holden. The most significant flashback is when he writes about his brothers baseball glove when helping Stradlater do his homework, and I found that this really made us feel sympathy for him, and made Holden appear as more genuine, as he was hiding memories that are painful to him.