‘The Catcher in the Ryle’ by Salinger was set in the 1950s. Holden does not specify his location while narrating the story but he states that he is hospitalized for the mental problem. His story starts on a Saturday after the end of lessons at Pencey prep school in Pennsylvania. Holden says that this his fourth school as he had failed three other schools. However, at Pencey he has received a notice to be expelled as he had failed four lessons out of five. Holden opts not to return home to Manhattan until Wednesday. He visits Spencer who warns him of his poor academic performance (David 4).
In the dormitory, he finds himself in trouble with Stradlater whom he suspects is in love with Jane, a lady he admires. He confronts him to inquire whether they had sex. Stradlater mocks Holden who flies into a fury. After Stradlater attacks him back, he decides to go to Manhattan for three days (David 6)
On his way to New York, he meets the parents of his classmates at Pencey. Paradoxically, he tells the mother the good character of his son back in school whereas he is not. On the way, he can convince the driver to take him to Edmont Hotel. From his room, he is to see into the rooms of other clients in the opposite wing. He sees several group couples with form behaviours which he interprets as sexual play. Still, in the hotel, he calls Cavendish faith, a lady he doesn’t know. He is later seen dancing with old ladies who are in their late 30s. He then meets Jane, and they watch the movie together. He leaves Edmont for Ernie’s Jazz club where he meets his brother former girlfriend. He gives excuses and leaves for Edmont. He complies with a prostitute by the name Sunny who agrees to take five dollars for sex. He tells her that he is not fit for sex because he has not recovered from the spinal operation.
He calls Sally who agrees to meet him At Biltmore Hotel. He then calls Jane whose call is picked by the mother. He takes a taxi to Central Park to meet his sister Phoebe, but she does not show up. He tries to convince Sally to move with him to Massachusetts because he is unhappy with his school. Sally refuses and leaves. He later meets Luce, a student at Columbia University who dismisses Holden discussion on homosexuality.
Holden encounters his former English teacher, Mr Antolini who tries to counsel him about his academic. In Mr Antolini’s apartment where he finds out that Mr Antolini is a homosexual. He later writes to Phoebe telling her he is living home for good. They meet at Museum where Phoebe comes carrying a suitcase full of clothes. In the end, Holden doesn’t tell the reader how he goes home. He is very hopeful about his future, and he is ready to join a new school.
Childhood versus Adulthood
The novel ‘catcher in the rye’ talks about a growth and maturity of a teenage boy. Holden is introduced as an immature child. He is exposed to adulthood world, but he is not ready to grow up and integrate himself into it. Throughout his journey of life, he is unproductive and does not grow up to become an adult. Although he doesn’t mature up, he finds a place between childhood and adulthood.
In the storyline, Heldon aims to arrest the process of transiting to adulthood. He runs away from change and is overawed by a complexity of the world fantasies which even both his childhood and adulthood. Heldon considers innocence as a world of a child. Conversely, he views adulthood as the world of shallowness. That implies that according to Heldon, adulthood is comparable to death. In the novel, we are told of the fatal at the end of the cliff, describing the adulthood life which is the same as death. Concerning that, Heldon is scared and puzzled by the adulthood.
He separates himself from both the school and classmate and goes to find the romantic relationship. In additions, throughout the novel, he tries to find comfort by trying to seek friendship for instance from Jane and all sorts of the lady to escape from change. He is reluctant to leave the innocence arena of his childhood, and he often finds fault with the adult; therefore, he escapes from being held responsible for his actions. For instance, at a point when he tries to argue with Maurice who punched his stomach. We also find him more at peaceful in the presence of children because the children do not expect much from him. However, at some point, he appears concerned arguing that he will have to take responsibility in future. In additions, it is clear that Holden’s immaturity that prevents him from starting a serious romantic relationship.
The two arena from childhood and adulthood’ are not different as Heldon has tries to demonstrate. He seems to criticize the adults around him to create the understanding of the two worlds. Holden is stuck between childhood and adulthood. He enters into adulthood, but intellectually he is very young. His older sister Phoebe appears more mature that Heldon.
Holden considers childhood innocence, implying that children should fight to lose it. For Heldon, this is not the case as for the most of the narration; we find him in immoral scenarios. He is always found demanding for companionship from ladies.
His thought about museum shows that Holden fears change is flabbergasted by its complexity. He wants everything to be effortlessly comprehensible and everlastingly fixed, like the figures of Inuit’s and Indians in the museum. We later see him scared because he is embarrassed by his own sins.
In the world around, especially in Edmont hotel, where he first resides, he encounters hypocrisy and superficiality. He describes adults as phonies, and they are blind as they can see the certain phoniness in them. He is a symbol of everything that is not right in his arena and gives an excuse to isolate himself from others. He encounters characters like Sally, Luce, and Spencer who are affected by his strange behaviours. Contrariwise, he sees other characters like Maurice and Sunny as dangerous, but he does not see himself as dangerous as they are. He finds fault in every adult he likes most to avoid wanting them anymore.
David, Salinger. ‘The Catch in the Ryle’. Tarrytown: Marshall Cavendish Corporation. 1951, pg. 2-190.