Saturday, April 10, 2004

Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

I seem to be reading only old classics now a days. The latest in the series is "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger.

The story is about Holden Caulfield a 16 year old who is thrown out of school because he failed in all subjects bar English. The reason he flunked is not because he is dumb, but he is bored with the subjects and doesn't want to apply himself. He describes himself as impulsive, rude ad yellow. The story is written in first person and describes the two days he spends in New York after running away from school.

Caulfield hates any one who is phoney, and he meets a lot of them in everyday life. He feels cynical towards everthing in life except when meeting his little sister Phoebe. He feels that kids are plain and simple and as they become adults they turn phoney. The story is written in a edgy way and the author brings out the rawness of thought of an adolescent. The story ends up with Caulfield wanting to run away to the west, but falling ill and thats the end of it.

It was not very easy to read, but at many points I could identify with the situations and Caulfield's thought process. Caulfield's interaction with his former English teacher is a case in point. The teacher hears him out and says "By the way you sound, I am sure you will lose your life nobly for an unworthy cause. Better to live for a worthy cause" or something to that effect. Very profound, and the novel is interspersed with such passages.

There is a certain integrity in the novel and it is definitely not phoney. Probably it is one of the reasons why this novel is a classic. After finishing it I checked and found that this was written in 1951, but it is still relevant and fresh today. Another hallmark of a classic.

I would give it a 7/10.

1 comment:

Vetrimagal said...

When I read it I thought it was a difficult book. May be I would read it again to catch the essence.

Your blog is very good and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks a lot .