Books We’re Reading:The Flashback to the Present with “The Catcher in the Rye”

“New York’s terrible when somebody laughs on the street very late at night. You can hear it for miles. It makes you feel so lonesome and depressed.” – J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

As I pointed out in my first post about The Catcher in the Rye, Holden isn’t exactly ecstatic to be delivering this story to the readers. In fact, in the chapters ahead, this motif keeps being repeated over and over. His interactions lead to depressing moods, combined alonghome_base_of_baseball_field_in_tc599ebc3adc48d_czech_republic with swings of impatience and maddening travels to get away from everybody. On page 87, a chapter literally ends with the quote, “People are always ruining things for you.”

From this, I find myself looping back to the first introduced question of why Holden acts this way. Though initially putting it aside to delve into the character’s more obscure natures, the book obviously is keeping it in focus and dies for it’s attention. Hence, I believe that while the novel is still pushing forth the average connotation of teen rebellion with cynicism, it’s also reaching a slow head-on collision with Holden’s family troubles.

When not interacting with other characters, Holden was entangled with detailing his sibling’s lives. He’s obviously attached 3948336553_b4d71ea2b9_bto them, even D.B. despite the estranged relations going on between them. So strangely, sympathy to people is only given to them. So what does this have to do with Holden’s mood? I’d say he’s still grieving for the one sibling he lost.

And hence, reading the beginning page again, I’m worried for what the transition of flashback to present is going to be. Especially when considering one of the first phrases of the book saying, “I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come here and take it easy.” With all the depressive moods and snippets of rage, I’m worried what the idea behind “pretty run-down”means. I’m forced to guess that this book isn’t being written for fun, but perhaps even therapy? Whatever is about to occur at the end of this journey will be a dead halt to Holden, one that might just change everything. One that forces him to look back… maybe just in the form of writing it all out.


Thank you for reading!


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