The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger’s best known and most controversial
book is the Catcher in the Rye.
The Catcher in the Rye was completed and published as a
book in 1951, although Salinger had been working on parts of
the book, and has used lightly disguised incidents from his days
at Valley Forge Military Academy in the early 1930’s.
The Catcher in the Rye takes place during a few days in
the life of Holden Caulfield, who has many of the problems of
a teenage youth. Holden has problems with girls, his classmates,
his schoolwork, and his mental state. Comparisons of the story,
written in the vernacular of the teenage youth of the times,
have been made with Huckleberry Finn, Jay Gatsby and Jesus Christ.
The title of the book is derived from a discussion Holden
has with his sister, when she asks him what he plans to do with
his life, he answers that he wants to be a “catcher in the rye”.
His goal in this role is to save children if they are in
danger of falling off a cliff while they are at play.
The book ends with Holden writing the last chapter from an
instituion in California where he recuperating from his breakdown.
The story has been investigated, probed, discussed and
criticized in hundreds of articles and critical essays since
it has been written. The book is also one of the most popular
books and discussed books, which, while containing only a few
incidents of profanity, has been rewarded with the distinction
of being one of the most banned books in schools which has
been published in the United States. The books contains a number
of events of realism in the world of teenagers which many adults
find offensive.