To Catch a Genius Coming Through the Rye

To Catch A Genius Coming Through The Rye

Does the most ostracized novel in the world have more to criticise than we think?

Once a novel has been written, it’s fate is no longer condemned to the hands of the author. They have no authority and no responsibility. With every new reading of every new mind, the characters, plot and supposed ‘inner meaning’ begin to develop into the face of the novel. Although every single person in the world would read and interpret exactly the same words differently, it is always the author that seems to face the humiliation and the ridicule from their piece of work. Now if every person in the world were to read the same novel seven billion different ways. How is it that we know whether a novel is considered an acceptable piece of literature or not? How is it that ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger, one of the most beloved and ostracized novels of the 20th century, could be regarded as the best piece of Western literature of all time? If so many people disagree on so much, what is it about this novel that they whole-heartedly agree on?

Holden Caulfield is the typical confused and bewildered teenage boy who seems to have suddenly snapped and decided to act out and take a ‘stand’ against society. The emotional state that Holden seems to be in throughout the novel is somewhat the exact definition of the paradox between the innocence of childhood and the maturity of adulthood. He feels as if he has lost the innocent eyes that he once held as a child but is also alienated from the adult society. Due to being outcast from his normal social groups, Holden begins to reject the way of life of every person around him by claiming that they are all ‘phonies’. His search for himself can be seen in terms of those he understands and their loss. He is deeply affected by the death of his brother Allie. He idolises the faultlessness of Allies memory and makes judgements of people based on this ‘perfect person’ that he has conjured up...