The Catcher in the Rye– The Story Of A Boy’s
Superficially the story of a young man’s expulsion from yet another school, The Catcher in the Rye remains in fact an observant study of one individual’s understanding of his human condition. Holden Caulfield, a teenager growing up in 1950s New York, has been expelled school for poor accomplishment once again. In an attempt to handle this he leaves school a few days prior to completion of term, and goes to New York to ‘take a getaway’ prior to returning to his moms and dads’ unavoidable rage.
Informed as a monologue, the book explains Holden’s thoughts and activities over these couple of days, throughout which he describes an establishing worried breakdown, symptomised by his bouts of inexplicable anxiety, impulsive costs and generally odd, erratic behaviour, prior to his ultimate anxious collapse. However, during his mental fight, life continues on around Holden as it always had, with the majority of people disregarding the ‘madman things’ that is occurring to him– till it starts to encroach on their well defined social codes.
Progressively through the book we are challenged to consider society’s attitude to the human condition– does society have an ‘ostrich in the sand’ mentality, a deliberate lack of knowledge of the vacuum that can characterise human presence? And if so, when Caulfield starts to probe and examine his own sense of vacuum and seclusion, before finally stating that he world is full of ‘phonies’ with every one out for their own counterfeit gain, is Holden really the one who is going insane, or is it society which has lost it’s mind for failing to see the hopelessness of their own lives?
When we are sincere we can see within ourselves suppressed components of the forces operating within Holden Caulfield, and because of that I would suggest this idea provoking novel as an interesting and informing description of our human condition. However, beware … for that extremely reason it is not comfortable reading.