The Catcher in the Rye is a coming of age novel written by J.D Salinger. In this novel, the character of the protagonist is an icon for teenage rebellion. This story is being told from Holden’s point of view and how he spent the few days from the end of fall semester to Christmas. Holden is representing a teenager who is immature, frustrated about his life choices and the choices his parents made for him. His obvious distaste for schools and his irritation along with the feeling of alienation from the society were the basic roots for his odd and disjointed behaviors.
In 1978, the book was banned in many states of America and countries all over the world because of the rebellious behavior of Holden and the open discussion of sexual needs and demands of an adolescent boy. However, this novel is nothing like the typical Young Adult novels because in this book the behaviors and maturity of Holden, the protagonist, remains the same throughout the novel. He does not change his mind about anything he thought was right or wrong. The language of this book is colloquial, and you can see that very clearly in Holden’s use of phrases.
The title of the novel “The Catcher in the Rye” was related to Holden’s point of view of a child and an adult. He wanted to see the characteristics a child possesses like an adult such as generosity, kindness, innocence and impulsiveness. Holden narrates that his innocence was stolen at a very young age, and he did not want any other child to go through that. He thought he could be a catcher for other children when they fall from the hill. Later as the story unfolds, Holden’s visit to his sister changes his point of view. The story ends with his thought that maybe he cannot catch everybody. He realized that being a Catcher in the Rye was futile. He came to the conclusion that growing up and losing your innocence is all a part of the circle of life.
In this book, Salinger treats religion in a very subtle honest way. He shows his disgust, through Holden’s character, for the phony activities of religious organizations and their set against the actual message of Christ. Holden tries to be an adult even though he is just a child so that he can compete against the norms of the society. So, the big question here is what did Holden get after going through the adult society, pretending to be an adult and then rejecting it altogether? He accepted the truth inside him that he liked to spend time with children especially his younger sister.
If we can move on from all the scandals, obscenity, desirability and irreverence that are mentioned in this work of fiction then we can see that there is much to learn from it when it comes to both religious as well as social norms. Salinger wrote an outstanding piece of fiction to point out, not all, but some factors in our society that are corrupting the innocent.