Plot Summary of The Catcher in the Rye
Uploaded by Quest4Glory on May 28, 2005
The whole story is based around Holden Caufield. Holden is your typical rebellious teenager: naive, defiant, pessimistic and indifferent to what goes on around him. He does not care about doing well in school, as proven by his lack of effort in school and his expulsions from other schools. Basically, Holden is about to be expelled from his current school, so he embarks on a bit of an "adventure" to New York. And that's basically the plot.
The plot may be a bit superficial on the outside, but the story is lengthened by the many encounters Holden has with various people at both school and in different places in New York. This range from meeting two nuns to talking to an elevator man to a prostitute. The list is endless.
These encounters are not of any significant importance, but are merely used to develop Holden's character. As time passes by, Holden becomes more depressed and more pessimistic. He also becomes more indifferent towards life, wasting money on hotels, a prostitute, a record, cabs, drinks.
As a teenager, I could envisage myself in many of the encounters Holden was faced with. I am not saying that I am a rebellious kid, but I am just saying that I can imagine myself being in a one-on-one situation with a teacher telling me how bad a certain piece of homework was (Holden is faced with a situation with an old history teacher, who was saddened by Holden's 10 line history essay on the Egyptians). At one point in life, I also felt the similar negative, "I don't care" attitude I was faced with earlier in my life.
However, I felt the realism of this part of teenage life is the humor of the whole story. The way Holden goes on about people, and adding the word "old" before every person's name always cracks me up. The way Holden picks up on all the negative aspects of the people he knows is something that I can only laugh at. The subtleties of Holden's life in the story is where all the humor is in this story.
Throughout the story, Salinger grabs the teenage mentality perfectly. He really does capture the teenage depression mode experienced by most teenagers and the language he uses throughout the book is authentic. This is evident from some of the phrases Holden uses. Holden always uses the phrase "that killed...