Jerome David "J. D."Salinger He’s a contemporarywriter, infact he was bornin 1919, on the 1st januaryand he died in 2010. He was American, he wasborn in Manhattan, NewYork. He attended public schoolson the West Side ofManhattan and then theMcburney School.
Jerome David "J. D." Salinger His parents enrolled him into Volley Forge Military Academy inPennsylvania, here he began writing stories. He started to attend New York University and then ColumbiaUniversity, but he was restless, uneasy, a disaster at school,like Holden, the young protagonist of his masterpiece “TheCatcher in the Rye”. Infact he said : ” Holden is a young myself”. Salinger fell in love with Oona O’neill, but she became CharlieChaplin’s wife. In 1942 he joined the invasion of Normandy. In 1952 he published “The Catcher in the Rye”, a book thatreally changed the literature of the time and also his life, infacthe had a great succes. Shortly after he retired from public life and he died 2 years ago.
The catcher in the rye This book talks aboutHolden Caulfield, a youngboy (he’s 16), who wasexpelled from PenceyPrep (a private school inPennsylvania) for his pooracademic permormance,so he decided to comeback to New York, wherehe lived. The book focuses on histhoughts and hisexperiences until hisreturn at home.
Holden is a particular boy because, he has his own head in the clouds, heisn’t like the others. Holden decides to say goodbye to his history teacher Spencer and to hisroommates Hackley and Stradlater, but he has a quarrel with the last onebecause of a girl so he takes all his things and goes away. His parents still don’t know he has been expelled, so he decides to goaround New York for night clubs, hotels ect, meeting people like Maurice (aponce), Sally (an old girlfriend), Carl (a friend who is very changed) ect.. Holden realizes that the other boys and girls are very stupid, he’s different,so at the end he decides to go to Phoebe (his little sister) when his parentsaren’t at home. Phoebe is the most important point of reference forHolden,even if she’s only a child. Then he calls Antonioli (an old teacher) in order to be hosted, but heshows a sexual attraction for the boy so Holden decides to run away and toleave the city. Before this he wants to say goodbye to Phoebe but she understands hisbrother’s intentions and she tries to persuade him to stay. The story ends with Holden who stays there looking his sister on acarousel, smiling under the rain.
Reflections and Considerations It isn’t important the plot, but the message,Holden’sthoughts,his considerations. Holden is a boy who doesn’t know his road and heis different from the others, who don’t understandhim. He thinks and talks about a lot of things, problems,people, even if they aren’t characters of the book,like for example his brother Allie, who is died.
ThemesThis is a bildungsroman (novel of formation)and the most important themes are : the period of the adolescence the freedom and the desire for independence the repudiation of the society the difficulty to adapt the plans for the future, that is uncertain the problem of our identity in the society.
Style The style is very simple and informal. There is the use of the everyday speech, used byamerican young people. There are words that the protagonist always repeats(damn, goddam etc…) The hand of the author is almost absent because itseems that Holden writes.
Some curiosities: TITLE The title in italian is “Il giovaneHolden”, because “TheCatcher in the Rye” isuntraslatable. The choice of this title is veryimportant, because it’s the onlyoccupation that the protagonistwants to do in his life. We discover this at the end ofthe 22nd chapter, when Holdenis talking with his sisterPhoebe. He wants to do an impossiblething,because in this societyhe doesn’t know who wants tobe really.
Other curiosities.. There isn’t a movie about this book. There are two songs inspired by this novel :“Who wrote Holden Caufield” written by GreenDay and “Catcher in the rye” by Guns N’Roses. When John Lennon’s murderer was arrested,he had in his hands this book.