The Catcher In The Rye It Was The Worst Of Times

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It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. The Catcher in the Rye was written by J.D. Salinger in 1951, four years after the beginning of the Cold War. The story revolves around a character named Holden Caulfield, an outsider to his society and an unreliable narrator. His story begins with a description his current situation, which consists of being confined to some institution for a “sickness” he refuses to talk about and his reminisce of better times. Caulfield flashes back to when he got expelled from a highly competitive prep school, failing all of his classes with the exception of English. Concluding that Pencey Prep was full of phonies anyway, he decides to take a train to New York City. On the way there, he meets the mother…show more content…
World War II ended in 1945, and American soldiers came home to one of the highest standard of livings achieved by any society in the world. But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, 15 million American soldiers, sailors, and marines returning to civilian life faced problems of finding jobs and housing, that is of course, those that did not die or were institutionalized for severe PSTD. From my perspective, Holden Caulfield resembles a disillusioned, returning WWII soldier. He’s a depressed boy who is stuck in a world where everyone’s dancing and going to the movies. Everyone is happy because of entertainment (movies, music, and sports) and a thriving economy, but they refuse to take account of the nuclear bombs we dropped on Japan, killing at least a thousand innocent civilians and shocking the rest of the world. A sharp increase in death is followed by a sharp increase in birth. World War II, claiming millions of combatant lives, is followed by the post-war “baby boom”, where 50 million babies were introduced into the American population between the periods of 1945-1960. A flourishing economy is followed by rampant materialism and consumerism. In The Catcher in The Rye, Caulfield even criticizes America’s society for being “full of phonies, all [they] do is study so that [they] can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddamn Cadillac someday” (pg. 131). Holden Caulfield can’t seem to fit in, he’s an outsider, a stranger, a misfit, he resembles perfectly a disillusioned WWII soldier returning home to a complacent society after witnessing the atrocities of
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