The Catcher in the Rye is a novel about the misadventures of a sixteen-year-old adolescent named Holden Caulfield. He is telling a story to the reader about the events that occurred earlier in the year. Holden does not have a knack for school, and the novel begins with him being notified that he is being expelled for failing four of his classes. This is the fourth school he has failed out of. He is to leave to go to New York to live back with his parents, but this is not for several days. The story is about what happens before he returns to his parents.
He first goes to tell his favorite teacher goodbye; but, after the teacher only talks about how Holden should have done better, Holden storms out. He returns to his room where his neighbor Ackley, who doesn't care much for personal hygiene, annoys him further. He then gets into a fight with his actual roommate Stradlater, and decides to return to New York several days early and not tell his parents. Holden then stays at a hotel, where many misfortunes befall him. Holden loves to point out the bad things in people, and he starts off by criticizing the other people he can see in other rooms. He tries to obtain alcohol from the bar at the bottom of the hotel, and, when denied, he hangs out with several older women in their thirties. They dance and Holden seems to have a good time. They then leave him, however, making him pay their entire tab along with his own. Holden has very sporadic thoughts and is always thinking about abstract things. He thinks about his old friend Jane, but never actually does anything about contacting her. He also asks several cab drivers where the ducks go in the winter, but only ends up annoying them. Holden then pays for a prostitute, but, when confronted, just wants to talk. The person who advertised her then beats him up and takes more money from him. He then meets one of his former girlfriends and goes out with her, but he eventually drives her away too when he insults her. Several other events occur and go wrong, and Holden lastly decides to sneak back home to see his sister. He fails at every social encounter, so it seems he returns to his sister because she does not reject him. He then makes plans to run away, which then fail as his sister tries to follow him. In all, Holden accomplishes nothing, failing at almost everything he tries. However, if you are looking for a story that gives insight to a troubled teen's thoughts and experiences, then this book is for you. I would highly recommend reading this book because it is able to let the reader connect to Holden's thoughts and feelings, making it seem if he was one of your friends who needed help.
1. If you had a friend that was failing out of many schools and seemed to be troubled, would you try to help them? Even if they were socially awkward and constantly pointed out your flaws, yet you could tell they didn't mean it?
2. If you were in Holden's place, mentally and socially disturbed, how would you try to get help? Would it be as difficult for you as it was for Holden, knowing that everyone you tried to talk to was driven away?