“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”
Simple, isn’t it? Living.
This was something that the world needed to hear in the 1950s when the master of writing, J.D. Salinger, wrote this book. Only a psychologist who has done an in-depth study on human beings could write such a masterpiece of a book.
Holden Caulfield goes on a series of long monologues and internal dialogues that keep resonating in your heart long after you have kept the book aside.
The Catcher in the Rye is simple, and that’s what makes it special. While 19th and 20th-century philosophers and psychologies wrote their best theories in the form of fiction books, they lacked something. They could not tell a beautiful story. Their postulations about human nature have the same relevance even today, but they fall short in constructing a beautiful story across their theories.
J. D Salinger simplifies these profound theories and postulates them with a heartwarming story—a story of a typical drawn-back American teenager who couldn’t get to terms with his adolescence.
Holden still wants to be an innocent child, but his body refuses, and he becomes a teenager. He starts despising the two-faced nature and deceitful facade of adults, which affects his mental health.
Through his attempts to get inside the adult circle by indulging in similar pursuits, he realizes that the world is not as innocent as he thought. The world that opens with its multitude of takes him by shock. He tries to become a typical Jungian Hero but fails badly.
Contempt builds up slowly, and resentment builds up within him.
But, there is hope for our boy. His innocence and purity of heart. His ability to love and feel love. He draws back to his roots, where he had locked his joy and found his treasure for redemption.
Whether the redemption was successful? We don’t know. Salinger hangs the book on a cliff, leaving the ends open, but that’s fine for me. The story served its purpose.
The Catcher in the Rye neatly explains the conflicts in the mind of a teenager who gets stuck between the beauty of his childhood and the monstrous notions of adulthood. It also speaks about the love, grief, guilt, repentance, and confusion of a young boy.
I really don’t know why this book several schools in the US banned it. It is, in fact, a book that every teenager must read. The Catcher in the Rye gives hope to teenagers who think that there is no true meaning in anything.
Verdict and Recommendation
I am very happy that I decided to read this book, as it was on my TBR list for so long. I had similar emotions while reading The Perks Of Being a Wallflower: the calm story, the undertone of grief and melancholy, the dressing of joy and happiness.
The Catcher in the Rye is a complete, savory meal that you can have at any time without worrying about putting on a few pounds of resentment.
I definitely recommend this book.