The catcher in the rye

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Is the novel "The Catcher In The Rye" relevant to New Zealand teenagers today, Discuss with reference to you're own experience.

"The Catcher In The Rye" is a study of ones human condition. Holden Caulfield is a teenager struggling to reach maturity. He is growing up in New York and goes through a lot of difficulties a teenager goes through in his teenage life like drinking, smoking, depression and family problems. The problems he has is relevant to New Zealand teenagers of today because a lot of teenagers in New Zealand are heavy drinkers, heavy smokers, they have depression problems and have family problems at home. These are the 4 problems Holden has in his teenage life and usually it always starts with the drinking.

In New Zealand 33% of the heaviest alcohol drinkers are with in the age of 21 and in the book "The Catcher In The Rye" Holden is drinking at a age of 17 which is below the drinking age which is typical of a teenage in New Zealand.

Today in schools they bring coke bottles and put alcohol in it, they drink alcohol in the toilets at schools and usually they get into pubs and nightclubs with their fake ids. As u can see the drinking age of alcohol compares to Holden and New Zealand teenagers is basically the first step they take, the second step is smoking.

Teenage smoking in New Zealand is very common, 31% of teenagers in New Zealand are regular smokers, the smoking age between Holden and New Zealand teenagers is the same but now you get teenagers that start smoking below the age of 17. The schools are common places for smoking these days, they usually do it in the toilets, school hockey turf's or where teachers never do their duties. Holden smokes a lot in the book and he does it sometimes when he gets depressed.

Depression was a big problem with Holden, whenever he got depressed he tends to turn to his younger siblings for support. Thinking of Allie makes Holden feel better, when Holden checks into the hotel and starts to feel depressed, the first person he wants to call is Phoebe but then he decides not too because it is so late. " But I certainly wouldn't have minded shooting the old crap with Poebe for a while (pg. 67)". That's his example of close younger sibling relations. Holden depression problem is relevant to New Zealand teenagers because 130-150 teenagers commit suicide each year in New Zealand and most of the incidents are due to depression, although Holden does not kill him self he thinks a lot about killing in his mind. The depression problem Holden has is mostly due to his relationship with his family.

From the very first page of the novel, Holden begins to refer to his parents as distance, he generalizes his father and mother frequently through out the novel, like in the first page he says " My parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything personal about them, They're quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father, (pg. 1)". When Holden describes his mum, he makes his mum sound insincere, like when Holden is hiding in the closet of D.B's room as his mum walks in to tuck in Phoebe. "Marvelous, my mother said, but u could tell she didn't mean it, she doesn't enjoy herself much when she goes out (pg. 177-178)". Like Holden many teenagers in New Zealand have family problems, they don't communicate with their parents much and when the teenager turns out to be bad like he smokes, drinks, depressed, the cases are usually that they have family problems and don't really communicate with their parents.

Therefor the drinking, smoking, depression and family problems Holden has is relevant to New Zealand teenagers, finally New Zealand teenagers of our society are just as bad and have the same problems as what Holden had then.