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The Catcher in the Rye


Jerome David Salinger, an American writer, authored the novel titled The Catcher in the Rye in the year 1951. Since its initial publication, the novel has become widely popular based on the number of sales and the number of languages it has been translated into. With total sales of over 65 million, translations into all major global languages, winning of major awards and global recognition its popularity cannot be ignored.

The plot of the story

The plot of the novel is anchored on the main character Holden Cufield who narrates his personal life experiences as if he is speaking loudly. The writer uses identity and belonging, authenticity versus artificiality, sexual confusion, teenage rebellion and alienation as the main themes. The themes are clearly brought about by the narrations of experiences as Holden undergoes physical, mental and emotional growth in his puberty. Holden narrates his life from the onset of notice of expulsion following his failure in exams and the intrigues surrounding the same. On leaving school, he narrates his sexual orientation recalling his interactions with his roommates and his initial sexual experiences with older females. His sister, Phoebe and his teacher Antolini are other main characters whose role in Holden's life contributes to his character identity.

Book reviews

The novel has been acclaimed and condemned in equal measure in its various reviews. The writer has been praised for the successful use of subjective writing style and its important lesson on the short life of alienation in adolescent stage. One the contrary, the novel has been criticized on its plot. First, it was challenged for not impacting any moral codes to readers. Also, it was condemned for its wide use of dirty language, repeated sexual inferences and attachment of socially rebuked behavior to paint the main character as a hero. On this point however, other writers believe that the same are common traits of rebellious teenagers; a common reflector of the youth. Others believe that there is just too much of the main character, Holden, who is so self centered that other characters wander in the plot of the story.

Awards, achievements and recognitions

The book, upon its publication became the top selling books according to New York Times list of best selling books. Since then, the book has however entered into the list of top ten most censored books. While some readers for example, George Bush, the former president of the U.S.A have found the book inspiring, others have referred the book as a motivator for homicides as documented in various files of shootings and assassinations.