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Considering the Catcher in the Rye

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By Kaitlyn Donato, WHS Student

A novel can be viewed through many different lenses. Its literary interpretations are reliant not only on the writer, but the perspectives of the readers as well. The Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, has been subject to controversy ever since its publication. Although some people consider it a story about troubled youth, others criticize its exploration of profanity, violence, and moral issues. The novel has generated both widespread disapproval and critical discussion for decades.

I, for one, did not expect to enjoy The Catcher in the Rye at first. I am not often fond of first-person narration styles, nor of stories that do not have a structured plot. However, I decided to read it due to the praise from numerous literary magazines and teachers. It had also been banned and censored in many schools, which piqued my interest as both a student and a reader.

The novel is somewhat slow-paced at times, given the lack of a structured plot. Nonetheless, I became fascinated with the main character, Holden Caulfield, and finished the book within a couple of days. I found that Holden’s perspective— the incessant ramblings of a disillusioned young man— is excellently portrayed throughout the story. Salinger describes Holden’s loss of innocence as if he were a teenager himself. His use of character development is meticulous and thoughtful, allowing the reader to witness Holden come alive in his writings.

I pushed past The Catcher in the Rye’s controversial reputation and discovered a youthful yet compelling voice in the novel. I am grateful to have read it, and would encourage every reader from my age and beyond to do so.

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