It truly is a novel which the youth of any country can relate to in some or the other way, we can greatly empathise with the instances in the novel and is quite appealing to any reader. It was initially published in 1951 by J D Salinger and it is considered to be one of the 100 best novels of the twenty first century by Modern library. It’s young adult fiction and it is said that Salinger was moved by the war and its torment which is reflected in Holden’s character by his loss of hope and faith.
The novel takes you on a ride along with the protagonist of the novel Holden Caulfield who is a 17 year old teenager who drops out from school as he is unable to cope up in the academic area. The only two people whom he was quite close too was his elder brother D.B and his younger sister whose innocence made him develop a soft corner towards her. The setting is the post-world war era and things are not as great as they should be, though freedom is enjoyed by each character. He like many teenagers loses hope in society and is unmotivated to move ahead further in life to fulfil goals. He experiences many adventures which gives him a sweet as well as a bitter taste of reality. In the end he just wanted to be himself, unfazed by anything.
One can see the growth and struggle of the character in the novel, be it teenage issues, academics, family issues, health problems and identity & innocence. It’s a ‘coming of the age” novel that is a bildungsroman novel and was also criticised by many after its publication due to certain sensitive content. It was part of the list of the 10 most frequently challenged books.
It’s a novel which will never go unnoticed and will never really grow old, it’s a must read for the youth of the present and the coming generations as it really takes you into a sphere of true reality which will move you.
Many of the themes be it reality, morality, maturity and responsibility or the three hoods (childhood, teenage-hood and adulthood) are very well portrayed in the novel giving it a realistic appeal and one can empathise with the character of the novel and his journey, the use of colloquial language makes it more fascinating.
Holden the protagonist in the novel is shown to be a free bird who goes along with the flow, he is shown to be true to his heart and immediately tries to fulfil his pleasures, it gives a real glimpse of the American teenage life and the shortcomings which could happened with anybody, some instances might give you the chills some might make you pity his(Holden) poor condition, The novel really attracts the reader to read further it takes you till the end on an adventurous journey filled with ghastly and interesting events
In the end the novel does have a very vague ending and one definitely does not expect that kind of an ending after reading the whole novel, but the novel touches the reader in a way which would make the reader more cautious and precarious and hence it can give you a pang after reading the instances and shocks which Holden goes through at such a young age without being reliable on any person and does offer cues to life learning lessons.