5 de nov. de 2022

The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)

The story takes place on a weekend in December 1949. The narrator, Holden Caulfield, is a seventeen-year-old boy from a wealthy family in New York. He describes encounters he had with the students and teachers of Pencey College, a famous boys' boarding school in Angerstown, Pennsylvania. He criticizes them for being superficial, or, as he would say, “false”.

Holden then searches for an old girlfriend, Sally Hayes, inviting her to see a musical. Sally happily accepts the invitation, and they meet to hang out. After the musical, Holden and Sally go ice skating; while having breakfast, Holden suddenly invites Sally to run away with him, but she refuses. Her response deflates Holden, who quickly criticizes her but immediately regrets it. Sally leaves while Holden follows, begging her to accept his apology. But he gives up and she returns home.

Holden spends three days in the city, and his time is largely characterized by heavy drinking and loneliness. At one point he ends up in a museum, where he compares his life to that of Eskimos in shop windows. As far as he can remember, the statues have never changed. Such concerns may have stemmed largely from the death of her brother Allie. Eventually, he sneaks into his parents' apartment while they are away to visit his younger sister Phoebe, who is the only person Holden seems to be able to communicate with. Phoebe sees her brother as a hero, and she is naively unaware that Holden's view of her is much the same. Holden shares a fantasy he thinks about: he sees himself as the sole guardian of countless children running and playing in a vast field of rye on the edge of a cliff. His job is to catch the kids if they wander near the edge - he's the "catcher in the rye". Because of this misinterpretation, Holden believes that being a “catcher in the rye” means saving children from losing their innocence.

After leaving his parents' apartment, Holden goes to visit a much esteemed retired English teacher, Mr. Antolini, in the middle of the night, who gives advice and offers him a place to sleep. Mr. Antolini tells Holden that the mark of a mature man is to live humbly for a cause rather than die nobly for it, which goes against the idea of ​​Holden becoming a “catcher in the rye”, a heroic figure who symbolically saves children from “a mad fall off a cliff” and from being exposed to the ills of adult life. Holden is upset when he wakes up in the middle of the night and finds Mr. Antolini banging his head in a way he finds weird. Holden leaves Mr. Antolini and spends his last afternoon wandering the city. He later wonders if his interpretation of Mr. Antolini is correct.

Holden makes the decision to head west, and when he mentions this plan to his little sister, she decides she wants to go with him. Holden refuses to accept her decision, which upsets Phoebe; so Holden makes a concession and decides not to leave anymore. Holden tries to reverse her mood by taking her to the Central Park Zoo. He realizes his mistake as she rides the carousel inside the zoo. While watching Phoebe, Holden realizes that he can't be the "catcher in the rye" and that he really needs help.

In the end, Holden decides not to talk about the gift, deeming it inconsequential. He thinks about “getting sick” and living in a mental hospital, and mentions that he will attend another school in September. Holden says he surprisingly found himself missing two of his former colleagues, Stradlater and Ackley, and even the pimp Maurice. The story ends with Holden stating that we should never tell others anything, if we do, we will miss them.

Title: The Catcher in the Rye 
Autor: J.D. Salinger
Product Details
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Little Brown and Company; 1st edition (1 May 1991)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Economy edition ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
Reading age ‏ : ‎ 14 years and above

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