JD Salinger: Voice of American Youth

Essay by yourname146High School, 11th gradeA, May 2004

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In the course of our studies, we are made to read many books. These can range anywhere from long and tedious to short and boring. Some are worth the effort, while most just make us yawn. However, there are a few rare gems that are not always taught in school, but are in fact on lists of banned material in some parts of America. One of these is the great American classic, The Catcher in the Rye. This book speaks the issues that many young people are faced with daily, issues like the temptations of drugs and sex, but also deeper meanings, such as why we, as human beings, are here. J(erome) D(avid) Salinger wrote this novel not only to entertain, which is certainly does, but to inform the adults of the era that teenagers are neither over-large eight year olds or under-sized thirty year olds. However, this message has carried on until now, a whole half-century later, because the teens of today are not that much different than the teens of the 1950's.

The issues dealt with in this novel still hold true today, including the temptations of drugs, sex, and general rebelliousness. Although the plot itself is simple, generally without any great surprises (until the ending), the way that it is written is what really gives the novel its staying power. Salinger uses several methods to make the story worth reading. First of all, the issues he deals with in the novel pertain to many of the same things teenagers go through, even today. Next, he makes the characters realistic in several ways. Finally, he makes the story interesting to read.

One way Salinger tends to hold the attention of the audience is through his usage of dialogue. One major way is the way he makes it seem...