Book Review – The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel by Jerome David Salinger. Originally this controversial book was published with adults as the target readers, but today, due to its teenage themes and issues, it has become popular among even younger readers. Even though the book is one that has drawn lots of debate and controversy, it is a book that gives hope to the reader. Despite the fact that the book was written in 1951, today, teenagers can easily relate to the themes that the book addresses. The book explores the theme of hope, specifically through one of the main characters named Holden Caulfield. When one is hopeful, it means they are expecting positive outcomes with relation to some circumstances or they anticipating that things will work out for the best. This paper discusses The Catcher in the Rye as a hopeful book by analyzing Holden’s experience in the story.

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At the beginning of the book, the author portrays Holden who is the main character in the book as insolent, lazy and uncertain about his future. The author effectively engages the readers to relate to the characters though his fair use of profanity. By making the characters look more realistic to the reader, the book effectively delivers its themes, with hope as one of the themes. Initially, in many cases, Holden feels hopeless since in some instances he seems to lack hope in anything, not even religion let alone any person. However, as one reads on, Holden slowly becomes a hopeful person. For instance, in the carousel scene, Holden who had been hopeless begins to see his life in a free and more hopeful way. It is in this instance that Holden who had been low about life becomes not only an accepting person but also a hopeful person. The author’s choice of the carousel scene is to symbolize both hope and rebirth. The circular movement of the carousel is a reflection of the kind of circular movement of life.

Sometimes, something good only comes to us after much pain and struggle. In the book, it is after Holden faints and falls at the museum that he was able to release himself from his initial struggles. In the case of Holden, the incidence of his fainting and falling looks like a fortunate fall, since probably if he had not fainted and fallen, then he wouldn’t have realized the fallen nature of the world and therefore wouldn’t have released himself. Holden becomes free from previous struggles and more accepting about what the future holds. Holden has to get to the bottom through being hopeless and clueless of what the future holds for him and even physically fall to be reborn as a hopeful person at the end. The book is a very inspiring read to the young people as it calls on young people to remain not only hopeful but true to themselves. Holden goes to the museum to protect himself from the reality of the world, but instead while at the museum, reality catches up with him. It shows that one cannot succeed in running away to avoid the what we are all part of, and that is the phony world. In the end, he finds a peaceful mind. After he thinks about himself, then he realizes and accepts that one cannot avoid falling in life.