In all literary works of art, the author chooses a tone to exhibit throughout the story line of his writing. That statement holds true about J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Some authors use comedy, others pure entertainment, but Mr. Salinger decided to set a "real life" tone to this particular novel. By exhibiting some aspects of reality, he lends his own philosophies to the reader. This gives the reader more incite and able to relate to the characters. Hence, making The Catcher in the Rye a philosophical novel.
This novel is a non-fiction story of a young man's life and what he does to get away from it all. Holden, the main character is Salinger's puppet. He is the one in which J.D. Salinger lets his own thoughts are expressed. Therefore, exhibiting why this is a philosophical novel. Not only does this novel let the reader know what the author is thinking, but it also gives one a perceptive study of one individual's understanding of his human condition.
It's told in a monologist manner so it can describe Holden's thoughts and feelings.
Holden Caulfield is a teenager growing up in 1950s New York. He has suffered through several school expulsions due to his poor achievement. In an attempt to deal with being expelled from private school he leaves school a few days prior to the end of the term, and goes to New York to 'take a vacation' before he returns to his parents inevitable wrath. He assumes that if he can run away from the problem, then maybe it will go away. As you would guess, Holden was wrong. His "trip" only helps worsen the situation.
Soon Holden begins to describe a developing nervous breakdown. He begins to experience things that didn't usual occur to him. Holden began to have bouts of things such as unexplained depression, impulsive spending and generally odd, erratic behavior, prior to his mental collapse. These are only some of the things that occurred to push him over the edge. He doubted himself. For example he meet this beautiful, older "prostitute" and he could come to grips with why he only wanted to talk to her and not do anything of the sexual persuasion with her. This confused him greatly. Holden did not drive himself to insanity, if that was what he actually was, society's philosophies were also to blame.
However, during his psychological battle, life continues on around Holden as it always had, with the majority of people ignoring the 'madman stuff' that is happening to him. This only continued until it began to encroach on their well defined social codes. More easily put, no one cared about what was happening to him until it began to rain on their parades. Progressively through the novel we are challenged to think about society's attitude is like that of an ostrich who buries his head in the sand to ignore everything around him. In essence this is exactly what Holden tried to do. He was successful until the very end because society formed a deliberate ignorance of emptiness towards his existence. All Holden wanted to do was get away from it all and find happiness. He probed his own heart and soul to investigate his own sense of isolation and emptiness, before declaring that his world was full of "phonies' with each one out for their own phony gain. Holden did not want to end up like that. And because of his efforts no to become that way, some say he drove himself off the deep end. But Salinger leaves to think, is Holden actually the one going insane, or is it society which as lost it's mind for failing to see the hopelessness of their own lives.
J.D. Salinger did an excellent job revealing this philosophies of human life through his teenage protangist. He conveyed many different aspects of human life. The Catcher in the Rye is a philosophical novel, not only because it express the author's ideas, but because it helps the reader to think about their life more in depth.