Catcher in the Rye Literary Critique

816 Words4 Pages
J. D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye", published in 1951, is his best piece of work. The story is about a sixteen-year old young man by the name of Holden Caulfield. Holden is being expelled from Pency Prep and decides to leave three days early. He chooses to not go home, enabling his parents to receive the letter that his dean at Pency Prep wrote to his parents about his expulsion. Holden chooses to hang around in New York until Wednesday, when he is going to be able to return home. Throughout the three days Holden is is New York alone, he is having a difficult time finding out who he is. Throughout the novel, the reader is presented with many different symbols. The symbols of Allie, The ducks in the pond, and the Mus are clearly seen by Holden's constant repetition of their importance. Allie, Holden's younger brother who died several years earlier, was a major symbol throughout the story. When Holden remembers incidents from his past involving Allie, his attitude changes, such as when he writes the composition about Allie's baseball glove or when Holden broke his hand after punching all of the windows after Allie died. "I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it". (Salinger 39) He feels that Allie was one of the few people who were not phony in a world full of phonies. More importantly, Allie represents the innocence and childhood that Holden strives to find throughout his three-day journey. In Holden's opinion, Allie represents the purity that Holden looks for in the world. Holden admits that he admires Allie more than he admires Jesus, and even prays to Allie at one point, rather than Jesus. Allie is Holden's role model, whom he judges the rest of the world according to. When Allie dies, it creates turbulence in Holden's life. At several points during the course of the novel, Holden
Open Document