We just began to read Catcher in the Rye in English class… the “essential American novel.” I only brought myself to read it after I realized, at 3 a.m., there were no more rom coms left to watch on the tiny mounted screen on the plane. So perhaps I’m being too critical when I say, Holden really bothers me.
Usually, I enjoy books written in skaz, but the language in which Holden narrates his story is particularly irritating. It’s not the profanity, but the constant mentions of “anyways” (eight times in just five pages!!) and “I really do” is exasperating. He also writes this story as if it’s a chore: the first page opens up with “If you really want to hear about it, [you’ll want to know] all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, to tell you the truth… Besides, I’m not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything” (Salinger 1). Trust me Holden, I don’t want to read this as much as you want to write it. Enough with the angst and just tell me the story.
Language aside, it is interesting to see what kind of person Holden is in just six pages of development. You can smell his self-entitlement from six miles away when he explains that he flunked out of Pencey Prep, and he doesn’t really care, because oh geez, it’s full of phonies who have zits. If I knew Holden, I would slap him into a different dimension. He’s a typical rebellious teenager, who just wants to be alone with his thoughts. He’s too cool for (an elite private) school, parents suck, he’s got no girlfriend, everyone’s a phony, he’s just drowning in his own angst. It’s a hard knock life. If we get more of a background to Holden, it will make him much less insufferable. So, hopefully as the story progresses Holden will grow as a more interesting, and most importantly, more complex character and there will be more depth to the plot as this is only the first chapter.
Featured Image: http://lithub.com/tag/the-catcher-in-the-rye/