Written by J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye is a classic fiction novel. Holden Caulfield, the main character, writes in a hospital about events that had occurred before the previous Christmas. In the text, Holden states “...I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everyone if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.” (163 Salinger) Holden’s quote explains the title of the writing. All he wants is to make a difference in the lives of others, allowing him to feel important.
Holden’s story starts in Agerstown, Pennsylvania at Pencey Prep High School in the 1950s. Holden had just been expelled for failing nearly all of his classes. Once he leaves Pencey, Holden boards a train to Manhattan, where he stays at the Edmont Hotel. The rest of the story takes place over a long weekend.
In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is his own greatest enemy. Socially awkward, Holden struggles to maintain a firm relationship of any form. He has difficulties with trying not to judging others harshly, referring to few people in the novel positively. Holden is told repeatedly that he never applies himself and avoids his problems. After his argument with his roommate Ward Stradlater, Holden leaves Pencey early to avoid further confrontation. An elevator man at his hotel offers Holden a prostitute for $5, to which he agrees. Once the prostitute arrives, Holden feels uncomfortable and attempts to make her leave. Holden later mentions running away to both his sister Phoebe and his ex-girlfriend Sally- possibly Holden realizing he’s alone or lost and trying to find a way out of his situation without having to face his problems.
Holden’s journey comes to a climax when his visit with Mr. Antolini leaves him to question the way that he judges others. Holden faces many struggles through the duration of The Catcher in the Rye and pities himself, never realizing just how alone and confused he is until that moment. It could be argued that there isn’t a climax as Holden never actually does...