Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thoughts On The Catcher in the Rye

*May contain spoilers*

Catcher in the Rye is one of those books where you get the feeling that you are the main character. Readers, especially teenagers, can absolutely relate to Holden Caulfield because they are more than likely going through what he's going through one way or another. I'm not saying that teenagers always get kicked out of schools and run away and then try and fail to sleep with a prostitute... I'm saying that the teenagers can relate to what Caulfield is experiencing and are really what I think are the main themes of the book: fear of the future, fear of choices, of what others expect of you, fear of growing up and having to face responsibilities.You grow up thinking that you have to meet the needs of your society, about what age you should marry and what age your supposed to have kids. This book got me, personally, to think about what choices I want to make and what others are expected of me. My parents and I have the same goal for myself: to be a doctor. It's something that I've always wanted to do and something that my mind has always been set for. But while reading this book, I considered the possibility that maybe I only like to be a doctor because it's what my parents have always instilled on me. Although I'm not very worried about it because I'm still young, and I still have lots of time to make a decision that I know I won't regret. Hopefully.

Catcher in the Rye is definitely one of my favorite books and I always find myself comparing it to the Paper Towns by John Green. I think it's because there are certain similarities about Holden Caulfield and one of the main characters of Paper Towns, Margo Roth Spiegelman (I think anyone who has read both books will see what I'm talking about here). Both characters run away, both characters are alone in a sense and both characters are looking for something that they can't find, and they don't even know what it is. I admire both characters because I think it takes a lot of courage to run away from people's expectations and to do your own thing. And even if you have successfully ran away it also takes a lot of courage to stay away and not come back, to completely give up the needs of your society and to not be swept away again.

One of the things that has stuck with me until after I read the last page of the book is this quote by Mr. Antolini:
"This fall I think you're riding for- it's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement is designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their environment couldn't supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn't supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started."
 He then goes on and talks about education and the importance of it. Their whole conversation, I thought, was just so... good. Mr. Antolini really hit on the head what the whole point of learning is, and I really learned a lot from that conversation. I'm not saying it became all crystal clear just like that, but it has certainly helped.

Another thing I really liked about this book is the way it's written. It's so easy to follow, even if it's set around the fifties. I really, really liked it.

So yeah, I love this book so much. I've read it 3 times. This is a big deal because I can't really re-read books. So that must mean that J.D. Salinger has made a huge impact on me for me to read again and again. I would definitely, definitely recommend to other people, especially people around my age. My only concern is that it doesn't have a solid plot, so it might not satisfy other people. Other than that, this books is just amazing.


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