Children in the Rye


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The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a story about a young man, who faces the struggle of dealing with the loss of a younger sibling. He has an idea of saving children from growing up, specifically his sister. I really like this book because I can relate to the main character Holden.  I myself lived far away from my family while going to school.  The feelings Holden has are relatable to me, in a sense that you do want to reach out to someone, but at the same time you don’t, and it just makes things really awkward and complicated. Similarly to Holden I remember that one of my most trusted friends was my philosophy professor, Milton. At the same time like Holden, I liked to wander off around the city.

A lot of people say that Holden and his story are boring and that nothing happens, but to the  keen eye  there is a lot going on in the story, from his feelings for Jane, the Hooker, his old friend, the cab driver, his teachers, and Phoebe. People without experience of loneliness and distance don’t realize what Holden feels and why does he act that way. I think  that only people who can relate to Holden’s situation in one way or another are able to understand that there is a lot going on in Holden’s mind.

 I interpret the scene of the ring as a metaphor. When Holden thinks “It was playing jazzy and funny. So was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid she’d fall off the goddam horse, but I didn’t say anything or do anything. The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it’s bad if you say anything to them”. In my interpretation, the gold ring is innocence, and the carousel spinning is time passing by, and each round a kid goes represents growing up. When the kids fall off they will realize that if they are not careful they are going to fall off and so they lose their innocence.

 Holden tries to reach out for genuine intimacy because he feels lonely, as I felt. I too tried like Holden to reach out for intimacy because I felt lonely. Holden’s quest for intimacy ends with Phoebe. Phoebe is the only character who listens to Holden without any criticism and wants to run away with him. Holden doesn’t wish it and wants Phoebe to stay at their parents. He realizes that he can’t stop time, or keep Phoebe from growing up. This is the same way I feel towards my little sister, I don’t want her to grow up, I want her to stay a child forever, and not see any harm there is in this world.

 Holden wants to catch all the kids in the rye to preserve their innocence because Robert Burns’ poem is about sex. Holden is surrounded by sexuality, with his passion for Jane, the scene across his window, the hooker, and everything else. Likewise he tries to get rid of his virginity, but ultimately failed to because he felt disgusted. Becoming an adult is a tragedy in Holden’s eyes.

The Catcher in the Rye is an underrated story by teens who say that there is no action in the story. On the contrary, it is an emotional rollercoaster. To my understanding, this is a standard English book like To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee but this story deserves a much more educated, and life experienced audience than just high school teens to be fully appreciated and understood.