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Teenagers and Adolescence in Catcher in the Rye

Teenagers throughout the century have always had trouble going through the adolescent years of their lives. The book Catcher in the Rye is realistic fiction and it is by J.D. Salinger. The novel was basically about a teenage male high school student who has been in and out of school for his unacceptable grades.

Most of this story takes place around New York. The Catcher in the Rye is set in the 1950s. The setting is important to the book because the only reason he is in New York was that he was expected home in a few days for Christmas break three days prior to getting kicked out of his school. Also, all of his family and friends live in New York.

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The main character in this novel is Holden Caulfield. Holden is a very depressed teen. He got that way because of the horrible things that have gone on in his life and now he looks at everything negatively. The supporting characters in this novel are Stradlater (roommate), Ackley (friend), and Phoebe (his sister). The miner characters were Jane Gallagher, Spencer, Luce, and Mr. Antolini. The character of Holden never changed but he ended up in a sanitarium. I feel that no other characters have changed. I liked all the characters cause basically they all had very different personalities.

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Holden Caulfield narrated a past tense story about the few days between the end of the fall school term and Christmas when he was sixteen years old to a medical doctor. His long story begins on a Saturday when he gets kicked out of Pencey Prep High School in Angerstown, Pennsylvania. He is not scheduled to be home in Manhattan till Wednesday. Holden decides that he has had enough of Pencey after he and his roommate Stradlater gets in a fight.

He then decides that he is going to back to Manhattan three days early, stay in a hotel, and not tell him, parents, that he is back. Holden goes to New York by train and then takes a cab to Edmond Hotel where he checks himself in. He goes to the bar Lavender Room at his hotel. Holden leaves Edmond and takes a cab to Ernie’s Jazz club in Greenwich Village then leaves and walks back to Edmond. He talks to the elevator guy back at his hotel and he gets him a prostitute.

She comes to his room and he feels uncomfortable and asks her to leave. The next morning he wakes up and eats at a breakfast bar. Then he goes to Central Park to look for his sister. Later that day Holden has a date with Sally witch doesn’t end on a good note. He then calls Carl Luce to meet for a drink. Quite drunk he goes to central park to where he used to watch the ducks as a child and wonders where they went for winter.

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He decides to sneak into his apartment to talk to his sister Phoebe and is forced to tell her about being kicked out of Pencey Prep Hight School. He tells her a fantasy about being a “Catcher in the Rye” a person who catches children if they fall off a cliff. He goes to his old English teacher’s house to stay the night, Mr. Antolinie. Then Holden goes to Phoebe’s school to send her a note saying to meet him at the museum with every intention of saying goodbye and leaving. She expected to go with him. She got mad and followed him around. That is what basically happened. Now he is in a Rehabilitation Center.

A major internal conflict is he is always depressed and that he is not as outgoing as everyone around him. Also, He doesn’t stick up for himself the external conflict is he has been kicked out of four schools and important people in his life have been giving him pressure for it.

This novel is written in the first person. When the story is being told in the first person it is being told by the main character (Holden Caulfield). How this story was written affected me by showing his real feelings. If someone besides the main character wrote this book they would not be able to show his true feelings only what they think he feels.

The attitude of the story is very negative. I think the Author J.D. Salinger looked down upon him. The life and people around him make him feel bad for them.

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The importance of the title is that even though he had a rough life he wanted to help the children around him. I think this book was great, especially to read around this age. Every teen should read this book.

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Teenagers and Adolescence in Catcher in the Rye. (2021, Feb 27). Retrieved February 6, 2023, from