The Catcher In The Rye / J.D. Salinger - book report

Essay by dani aaronovizHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 1996

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Preface -

This book has been steeped in controversy since it was banned in America after it's first

publication. John Lennon's assassin, Mark Chapman, asked the former beatle to sign a copy of

the book earlier in the morning of the day that he murdered Lennon. Police found the book in

his possession upon apprehending the psychologically disturbed Chapman. However, the book

itself contains nothing that could be attributed with leading Chapman to act as he did - it could

have been any book that he was reading the day he decided to kill John Lennon - and as a

result of the fact that it was 'The Catcher In The Rye', a book describing nervous breakdown,

media speculated widely about the possible connection. This gave the book even more

notoriety. So what is 'The Catcher In The Rye' actually about ?

Superficially the story of a young man's expulsion from yet another school, 'The Catcher In

The Rye' is in fact a perceptive study of one individual's understanding of his human condition.

Holden Caulfield, a teenager growing up in 1950s New York, has been expelled school for

poor achievement once again. In an attempt to deal with this he leaves school a few days prior

to the end of term, and goes to New York to 'take a vacation' before returning to his parents'

inevitable wrath.

Told as a monologue, the book describes Holden's thoughts and activities over these few

days, during which he describes a developing nervous breakdown, symptomised by his bouts of

unexplained depression, impulsive spending and generally odd, erratic behaviour, prior to his

eventual nervous collapse.

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 -...