The Catcher in the Rye takes ar sometime in the post-World war II era, either in the late 1940s or beforehand 1950s. These years were a time as soon as the country enjoyed a booming economy and an unmatched sense of progress, but was additionally coming come terms v the atrocities the the war, such together the Holocaust and also America’s atomic bombing of Japan. The book starts at Pencey Prep, an exclude, boarding college in brand-new Jersey. In spite of the school’s scholastic reputation, Holden find the society at Pencey claustrophobic, and also he has a hard time getting in addition to the various other boys there. As he says in chapter 1, “The much more expensive a institution is, the an ext crooks it has—I’m not kidding.” Pencey introduce Holden’s frustration with the social class he to be born into. Follow to Holden, there is a disproportionate number of crooks and also phonies among the wealthy, and he believes that Pencey, which is a microcosm of affluent society, has crooks and also phonies in spades.

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After the developing opening scenes, Holden pipeline Pencey and also returns come his hometown of brand-new York City, whereby the mass of the book’s action takes place. Brand-new York theatre a an essential role in the book, both reflecting and heightening Holden’s emotional deterioration. The city is large and busy, but Holden regularly feels alone amongst the crowds. The evokes such a feeling in thing 12: “New York’s terrible when someone laughs on the street really late at night. You have the right to hear it for miles. It makes you feeling so lonesome and depressed.” brand-new York also represents lot of what Holden hates. Holden dislikes the falseness that performance, yet brand-new York is a famous theater city, known for its superior Broadway shows. Holden rails against commercialization, however that’s precisely what the encounters during the Rockettes’ superficial Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. New York’s performance culture, and also its showiness and wealth, trouble Holden deeply. In this sense, the city is a large version that Pencey.

Although Holden commonly casts brand-new York in a negative light, the city does offer him a couple of places of refuge. One such refuge is the Museum of natural History. Holden takes comfort in the museum’s revolution exhibitions that never change. He knows that at any time he deserve to wander the same halls and see the exact same things, and also this knowledge provides a feeling of stability. Significantly, the Museum is located adjacent to central Park, which is Holden’s other place of refuge. Positioned in the city’s heart and also seemingly eliminated from the hustle and also bustle that the streets, central Park provides a natural space where Holden have the right to walk and think. However if main Park is a place of refuge, it’s likewise a place of psychological breakdown. As soon as Holden goes trying to find his beloved lagoon one cold, dark night, the struggles discover it. As soon as he ultimately arrives, he issues he’s gaining pneumonia and also fantasizes about his very own death. Also disconcerting is the delirious delight Holden feels once watching Phoebe top top the main Park carousel. His sudden emotional change may foreshadow the mysterious breakdown he refuses come talk about in the final chapter.

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For a novel that offers so much specificity around setting, Catcher in the Rye continues to be markedly mysterious about where Holden is as soon as he is narrating the story. In the opening pages he states he “got pretty run-down and also had come come the end here and take that easy.” In the last chapter, he claims he “got sick,” describes being saw by “this one psychoanalyst male they have actually here,” and also says the bathroom is “way the hell under in the other wing.” These ideas have led plenty of readers to i think Holden is telling the story indigenous a psychiatric facility complying with a mental breakdown. However, another interpretation is the Holden is in a clinical facility recovering native the disease he contracted throughout his weekend in new York. His constant references come his physical degeneration end the food of the book, and his concern around getting pneumonia, indicate he may have actually suffered a serious disease requiring expanded convalescence, such together tuberculosis. Either way, Holden is plainly telling the story from some kind of hospital or school he anticipates leaving in time to start college again.

The Catcher in the Rye Literature guide


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