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Published in 1951, this book has been the subject of controversial debates ever since on basis of its themes. But this very controversy which many adolescents relate to is perhaps what has made the novel such an interesting read that it still features prominently in contemporary society. The Catcher in the Rye is definitely not meant for consumption by everyone but is regardless a compelling read based on its blend of sheer humor and vivid reality. Set in the three days before Christmas, the book begins with a direct address from Holden the main character. Suspended from the elite Pennsylvania Pencey Prep school, the book is a reflection of Holden’s life told in his own captivating language which has raised pleasure and disdain in equal measure among the book’s readers.
This being the third school he has been kicked out of, Holden clearly has a rebellious streak in him. He is therefore not in a hurry to go home before his scheduled closing day but lingering at Pencey which Holden claims to be filled with phonies is not an alluring option either. He therefore travels to New York and rents a hotel room as his location to pass the next few days in a flurry of adventure. A bewildered and pitiful sixteen year old, Holden narrates of his weird experiences with a prostitute, nuns, a former teacher and taxi drivers. His troubles which stem from his uncertainty of himself are a typical reflection of a teenager who is coming of age.
Salinger portrays Holden as a lazy teenager who lives one day at a time with total disregard to his future. While the profanity used extensively makes the reader relate to Holden, it also educates the reader on the theme of morality. Through its thematic expressions of rebellion and independence, the book is thus an inspiring read especially to teenagers like Holden. The author gives poignant reflections of youth life which serve as a lesson to budding teenagers. By getting in the head of Holden, adolescents can be able to use Holden’s life as a mirror in their own lives and make appropriate choices. The catcher in the Rye is thus an inspiring read about a protagonist teenager that artfully blends controversy and humor revealing the true nature of adolescents in the process. All in all despite the liberal use of profanity, the catcher in the Rye is worth a read.