Catcher in the Rye

Summary of Plot

The book the Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger was very interesting.  Holden
Caulfield, a teenager tells about his insight about life and world around him.  Holden
shares many of his opinions about people and leads the reader on a five day visit into his
mind.  Holden portrayed others to be inferior to his own kind all throughout the book. He
made several references as to how people are not as perfect as he was. “The reason he
[Stradlater] fixed himself up to look good was because he was madly in love with
himself.” (pg. 27)  Holden had an inferiority complex.   He was afraid of not having any
special talents or abilities and used other methods to make him out to be a rough tough
boy.  “Boy, I sat at that goddam bar till around one o’clock or so, getting drunk as a
bastard. I could hardly see straight.” (pg. 150) Holden tried all he could to fit in. He
drank, cursed and criticized life in general to make it seem he was very knowing of these
habits. Holden used the term ‘phonies’ to describe more than a few people in this book.
He used the term to be what a person is if they don’t act naturally and follow other
people’s manners and grace. Holden didn’t like phonies, he thought of them as if they
were trying to show off. He didn’t like it when they showed off because it seemed so fake
and unnatural every time they would do so.  “At the end of the first act we went out with
all the other jerks for a cigarette. What a deal that was. You never saw so many phonies
in all your life, everybody smoking their ears off and talking about the play so that
everybody could hear how sharp they were.” (pg. 126)  Throughout the book Holden
displays a lack of motivation for many things in which he should do. Holden couldn’t
even call up an old girlfriend whom he knew a long time ago.  “But when I got inside this
phone booth, I wasn’t much in the mood any more to give old Jane a buzz.” (Pg. 150)
Holden also had a problem getting his motivation together in order to complete
schoolwork and succeed in his prep school.  The Catcher in the Rye is a story of a boy
falling from innocence to enter adulthood.  An example of J.D. Salinger using symbolism
to show Holdens Holding on to his childhood is in his name, Holden(Hold On).  This is
referring to Holden not wanting to enter society and all its phonies.