Controversial American Literature, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye

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One of the most controversial American Literature books, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, went into full turbulence and had all the attention of critics everywhere during its release in 1951. Holden Caulfield, a New York City teenager in the 1950’s with manic-depression is the protagonist, is a protagonist unlike any other in coming-of-age novels. What most critics don’t realize is that his actions are exactly those of a depressed teenager would endure: being an immature compulsive liar who is manic-depressive. The over-saturation from technology into the 21st century does not separate the direct similarities of teens today and those twenty to thirty years ago. Today’s teenagers being “less complex,” “confused,” “anxiety ridden,” or any of the such shouldn’t be ignored. Salinger writes to reveal Holden’s foible of his constant struggle of being a teenager as well as giving a voice to teenagers during any era.
Catcher in the Rye is told through the unedited perspective of our 17 year old tragic hero’s thoughts and feelings as he is talking to his psychiatrist while he reflects the days following his expulsion from Pencey Prep. After his heated argument with his roommate, he begins wandering the streets of New York City in search of his identity and what the adult world is like before returning home. While in The Big Apple, he interacts with teachers, prostitutes, nuns, an old girlfriend, and his little sister. He is curious about the world and himself, in a grown up way,…