The Catcher in the Rye Reader Response Essay
A book should be valued by the lesson taught. “The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.” -James Bryce. My book is the Catcher in the Rye by J.
D. Salinger. I feel like a lot can be taken away from the book, but I also feel like there are some elements of the book that could have been better, or could have been better understood. Some places in the book it seems to go on and on, but other places in the book are really deep and relatable. The beginning of the novel introduces some of the characters and starts to explain what led to holden getting suspended. 16-year-old Holden Caulfield is going through struggles.
At the beginning of the novel, Holden talks about failing almost all of his classes. He goes to say goodbye to Mr. Spencer, his history teacher. Holden seems to have a negative attitude about pretty much everything in his life. And when something good happens, it either gets ruined or he ruins it because he doesn’t have many good things happen. Many of the experience he talks about are very relatable. Academic struggles, addictions, friendship problems, and fights. Holden finds the world around him almost unbearable. He uses the hardships of life against other people. Stradlater is one of Holden’s roommates at Pencey. Stradlater is known as handsome and popular. But Holden explained that in his own privacy, he’s actually a really messy person. Phoebe Caulfield is Holden’s ten-year-old sister. He says that even though Phoebe is 6 years younger than Holden, she understands more than most people. Phoebe holds maturity for her age and provides the most happiness for him.
This novel doesn’t really seem to have a real ending. At the end of the novel, he talks about taking Phoebe on the carousel, and he actually seemed to be enjoying himself. “I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth.” (212) He says he doesn’t wanna talk about what happened after that, so I think he wanted to enjoy himself for once in his life. I think by the end of the novel Holden had changed drastically, as far as his attitude towards his life. At the very end of the book, Holden says, “That’s all I’m going to tell about. I could probably tell you what I did after I went home, and how I got sick and all, and what school I’m supposed to go to next fall after I get out of here, but I don’t feel like it. I really don’t. That stuff doesn’t interest me too much right now.” (213) He’s talking about getting out of the mental hospital, but he doesn’t want to talk about the bad times now that he has the joy of Phoebe in mind. Here’s what I personally can take from the novel.
I think it teaches you that it’s important to contain a positive relationship with not only others but with yourself as well. Having positive relationships with people you love and care about, and who make you happy can help you through the hardships of life. This book is definitely an emotional rollercoaster for most of the characters, and possibly even the reader. In real life, you should definitely keep everyone and everything important to you very close because nothing last forever, and your happiness could fade away in seconds. A book should be looked at by what the reader can take away from it. This book had a lot of ups and downs, and definitely a lot of changes. But in the end, Holden seemed to find happiness and he wanted to leave it at that. When Holden finds little joy in his life, he becomes fulfilled and he doesn’t think the rest of his life is important anymore. I think overall it was a pretty good book.
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