"The Catcher and The Rye"- An Insightful Plot Analysis

Essay by McDonaldLover November 2007

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The Catcher in the Rye is not merely a narrative about an atypical teenager going through a tough “phase”. Nor is it a set of troubled memoirs written by a confused and isolated young man. In essence, and at its very core, it is simply a story about the loss of innocence: physical, mental, and, spiritual. As the plot progresses and new characters are introduced, Holden Caulfield is exceedingly portrayed as an insecure and almost completely misplaced person. His disarray is not only corporal but also pertains to his state of mind; one that is constantly judgmental and always considers others to be “phony”. But by being so immensely different from both his fellow students at Pencey as well as the myriad of people he encounters, Holden provides a fresh and somehow revitalizing view. Although the tone in which this novel is undoubtedly depressing and gloomy, it succeeds remarkably in introducing universally-important themes in a strange yet moving way.

It is widely said that the teenage years are the hardest. Adolescents, who feel as if they are being pulled in numerous directions, have deeply scrambled emotions and often posses a distorted view on life. Holden not only demonstrates this characteristics, he takes it to a new level. He, both indirectly and directly, warns about the danger of trusting while reminding that people lack any ingenuity. The culmination of his revelations comes on the last page, “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” Although this seems disheartening to say the least, it is, in reality, a good point of view. Simply it translates to, if you have memories you will, invariably, miss them. If this is true then it begs the question, “Why are memories worth having?” This question being so complex and having no single...