Catcher In The Rye Short Biography

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Jerome David Salinger was born in 1919, in Manhattan, New York (Telgen 117). Similar to Salinger’s fictional character in his most famous novel The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger was never a studious student and flunked out of the prestigious McBurney School. Enraged by his lack of school interest, Salinger’s parents sent him to Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania. Salinger became interested in a literary career after attending a short story course at Columbia University (117). Salinger’s major works include: The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Hapworth 16, 1924 (117). The Catcher in the Rye is centered on a young sixteen year old boy named Holden Caulfield, a slacker who is struggling to find his main purpose …show more content…
He is excluded from and a stranger to the culture around him because he suffers from loneliness and depression. For example, the novel begins with Holden standing on top of Thomson Hill overlooking a Pency Prep football game. From the very beginning of the novel, it seems that Holden is not similar to the other students at Pency Prep. “I was standing way the hell up on top of Thomson Hill, right next to this crazy cannon that was in the Revolutionary War and all. You could see the whole field from there, and you could see the two teams bashing each other all over the place,” Holden considers quietly (Salinger 5). Instead of attending the football game, Holden would rather be by himself because he does not seem interested in spending time with people or in trying to connect with them. Holden repeatedly confines himself when he is in a social setting, which only adds to his loneliness. Holden always has many opportunities to connect with people, but he always finds a way of destroying the relationships around him. Moreover, Holden also seems disconnected from the world when he is sitting alone on the park bench. Holden is wet due to the rain and feels he is about to die of pneumonia because of the cold weather. According to David J. Burrows, an author of Myths and Motifs, “Holden tries to stop thinking about pneumonia and dying, but cannot; and his next thought is of how his own death …show more content…
For instance, as Holden is talking to Phoebe about one thing he truly loves in the world, they start to discuss the poem by Robert Burns “If a body meet a body coming through the rye” (224). Eventually, Holden recognizes himself as the protector of innocence. “I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of kids, and nobody’s around—nobody big, I mean—accept me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d be the catcher in the rye and all,” Holden asserts joyfully (224). Holden believes that children are better than adults. He never wants to grow up and frequently proves his immaturity throughout the novel. All Holden wants is to protect children from maturing and to prevent them from facing the difficulties of adulthood. He always identifies better with children because he has trouble talking with adults. Because Holden believes that childhood is a form of happiness and innocence, he fears that growing up will cause him to leave his innocence behind. According to Jonathan Baumbach, a professor of English at Boston College, “Like all of Salinger’s fiction, Catcher in the Rye is not only about innocence, it is actively for innocence—as if retaining one’s childness were an existential possibility” (64). Holden still

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