Iman
Iman asked:

What is the message of this book?what am I going to know after reading this book after all of rude words and phrases(in comparison to other Novels I'v read)?Why should I know all this useless information about different characters who don't have any effect on the story(if I could find any special story also)?

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Monika Przegalińska I think, it is about saving innocence, which is also a symbol of childhood. Holden simply wants to save his little sister (and other kids) from process of adolescence and future adulthood. Hi wants to be "Catcher in the rye" - the man who saves children from falling, falling into the adulthood.
In my opinion it's not about that Holden does'nt want to grow up, he know that ge is growing up right now and he sees how painful and hard it is, so he wants to protect ever little kid from what he finds so harmful.
Just a subjective opinion:)
Catalina J. García First of all, I disagree with the idea that books should have determined messages. The writer probably wrote this book with an idea in mind, but what is beautiful about literature and arts in general is that you can give the meaning you want to anything. I think that neither this book nor any one has a specified message. It is a narration that, at least in my case, made me feel emotionally identified and understood. And everything inside the book, from the descriptions of its characters, to its swearing, are just ingredients that build the book as a whole. If you think they are useless, that is valid. But I strongly disagree, consequently, I can’t justify the information of useless characters because there are no useless characters. As in every good story, everything that is written is important. If you start by the idea that the characters are useless then there is no need of an explanation. And if you didn’t consider this book good, then that is probably why you consider useless part of its information. Of course your perspective is valid and respectable as well, but I disagree with it. To finish, I think that with this book you are not supposed to “know” anything, but to FEEL.
Eve
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Adriana Díaz Constantino In my opinion, I think it's all about an adolescent who doesn't want to be older, maybe because he's afraid of the future, or maybe because his past was horrible and he isn't interested in anything. That point, makes the character a hard person to follow... because he's always depressed and disagree about everything.

The book title is "The catcher in the rye" because in a part of the story the Holden's sister asks him "Is there anything you want to be?" and he said he wants to be a catcher in the rye, taking care of the children who could fall in a precipice. I think it's a metaphore: He thinks that the children lose all the good things when they became older, and all he wanted to do is take care of the children innocence, thats why he's always angry... he's becoming an adult, and he doesn't want to.

This book it's a classic, at first because the way the narrative voice speaks about sex, drugs and prostitution was very rude in that time (1951, post-war), and after, because Salinger does a great job describing the adolescents emotions. Holden is a rebel, but he lives hard things that takes him to be that way, at the begining of the book, he doesn't even wanted to talk about it, and all the details that you can discover are "spontaneous memories". This book it's a classic also because it's related to assassins of important people, like Chapman (killer of John Lennon).
Kevin Cole The message is that growing up is not easy. It involves losing, often painfully, illusions you held as a child and teenager.
Gabby It's about appreciating life to me. Don't read this book if you can't appreciate the little moments that mean so much. Plus, of course if you can't relate to the frustration caused by so-called 'phonies' you probably won't like this book.

I think the message of it is to not rush into adulthood. Savour youth and all the moments that build up to the true meaning of life, it's different for everyone, but realising that it's self-love/acceptance and not materialistic things like wealth, sex and looks that the 'phonies' care about.
Parjuna No no no. I actually know the meaning of the book. We miss what is right there in the first sentence: if you want to know the truth. People are too sensitive and do not want to know. Holden is merely a vehicle that Sal uses with much amusement for himself to point out that people are way way too sensitive. And this is the reason it was "shelved". I mean, what is going to get us overly sensitive types all riled up? By pointing out our sensitivity. I really really hope they still teach this - I remember being very influenced by this book, but it did feel dangerous to in a way. Like I shouldn't be reading this. Now, more than ever I think this book needs to be taught. I doubt it is, though. We are way too sensitive, proving Sal correct (Don't forget his Seymore and Introduction!) That is wonderful as well
Fabi The book really is about connecting with Holden, I mean, he's such a relatable character, and Salinger really does a great job in some really hard to describe human emotions, about the rude words and phrases, I think its pretty PG, the point of the story is the connection with Holden and the feeling of confusion about his future and even, his feelings.
Sohaib The message of this book is that we need more innocence in the world, more love and compassion, just like all that was needed for Holden was a little compassion and genuine attention from his little sister...

From an eastern spiritual perspective, growth or maturity moves from worldly experience towards innocence, naturalness and harmony with what is true, unlike the western notion that enlightenment happens when the self moves from innocence into experience.

Holden, through his journey towards spiritual growth and wisdom, comes to a point of total surrender and harmony with the way things are; in the end, he ceases to judge and becomes more in tune with reality; he, suddenly and for the very first time, comes to clarity, a moment which was perfectly exemplified by him being soaked in the rain without running for shelter... the rain symbolized the washing away of his judgements and holdings.
Kshitij Well, literature has always been open to interpretations. You can interpret anything out of a piece of writing but that may not be the perspective with which the writer wrote the book.
(^)That was the answer to your question. The rest is what I make of the story.

The most captivating thing about this book would be the way the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, perceives the world. Not all the teenagers may be able to relate to it, but I think a plenty of them would. It's the peculiar way by which J.D. Salinger has portrayed the character of Holden, even if you don't agree with him on some points, you eventually start liking him because of his sheer honesty. I actually laughed a lot while reading this book, more than I did while reading any other. He says things which in the real world everyone is afraid of saying - he fervently dismisses these kind of people as being "phoney". You can feel the brutal and utter honesty in Caulfield's character all along and that's what I completely loved about the book. The book kind of gives you an opportunity to dive in to the psyche of a teenager who has just been kicked out of high school and see his view of the world. And it's highly interesting.
Jean Cole You have to take into consideration the context of the era in which this book was published. Post World War II. The heroic soldiers have come home after defeating not one, but two evil empires. They marry their happy-to-be housewives and have their 2.5 children who are supposed to be seen and not heard. And here we have Holden, a self-absorbed teenager who curses, uses slang, is obsessed with sex and resents the world he lives in even though his life is pretty darn easy. The narrative style is conversational and casual. These factors were shocking and disturbing some, refreshing and delightful to others. At the beginning of the book he sounds like a pretty typical teenager. As the book progresses, however, you begin to realize that Holden is depressed and a little unstable. At the end of the book, society's "big machine" has literally taken this pretty harmless young man and locked him away. He doesn't fit with the pretty picture that society wants so see, so they remove him from society. Now individuality is celebrated and encouraged. Then, not so much. This book was just one piece of the beginning of the cultural revolution that took place in the 1960s. That is the reason that there was such a fuss about this book. The point of this book is not the story that Holden tells. The book itself is a comment on the restrictive society that existed in post-war America.
Iris Benson Why do you need a message? Do you need to be told what to think?

There really aren't that many rude words. He uses "Goddamn" and "Chrissake" a lot. I don't think he uses "shit" once. "Fuck you" is written on a wall in a museum and Holden himself gets offended by it.

Holden talks the way he talks because that is how real people talk. A lot of people argue that he is rebelling against society's rules but all of the boys his age that he interacts with, talk that way.

A lot of people also miss the fact that this book is about grief. Holden is still dealing with the loss of his brother from leukemia. His brother, Allie, is literally mentioned in every chapter.

I don't understand how the information about the characters is more useless than other novels. If you are reading fiction, it generally tends to be descriptive, and in some points, as in mysteries, the information is intended to seem pointless for a long time, and justified later in the story. If it's a problem when reading Catcher in the Rye, it's gonna be a problem for you any time you read a fictionalized account of anything.

Another thing people miss about this book is that it is funny. Holden is describing people's ridiculous behaviors, his ridiculous reactions to those behaviors and his own ridiculous behaviors.

Maybe quit trying so hard to pick apart a book academically because someone told you to and just read it and enjoy it.

Oh, also, you can like a book with characters you don't admire. You're not gonna turn into that person just because you have sympathy and compassion for him.
Joaquina Pereira I'm loving it, is amazing and genius. One of the message is the fragility of a young boy and the hypocrisy of the world and the coldness nobody hear the others
Gabriel Calancea If you are not a teenager, don't bother to understand, I read the book and for me it's adolescence identity crisis written all over. A boy who doesn't face his problems until the end. It's a pain to read it, but I understand why teenagers love this book.
Crushon T Even though Holden was not a "normal" kid, I understand and feel the same way as Holden. People are sometimes very phony and sometimes very cruel. I like the way how holden points out people's actions and expresses his pure opinion on them.
Annee I don't think it's trying to send a message. It's just an authentic story.
Bernie I think it is about depression and a teenager on the brink of having a nervous breakdown. His pessimistic out-look on life and the phonies that irritate him makes him want to drop out of society and live a life of a recluse, not talking to people and abandoning his family ties. This could be due to his brother Allie's death or the fear of growing up since he only ever really relates to children especially his sister Pheobe.
Wanting to be the Catcher in the rye and save children from the cliff could be a metaphor for both reasons.
Altoidyoda During World War II, within the span of less than one year, J. D. Salinger fought in three of the deadliest battles in all of American history. Soon after, in that same year, he was one of the first Americans to enter a liberated concentration camp. He's seen more violence than almost any other prominent author in history. Yet, he wrote a story about a teenage boy where nothing really happens. Holden Caulfield is a character whose biggest fear is adulthood, and his fantasy is one where he can protect himself and other children from the horrors of the adult world. Knowing the history of Salinger shines some light on why he saw that world as something to fear, and why he felt the loss of innocence as such a powerful and painful thing. That's what The Catcher in the Rye is about.
Sarah I think the message is about keeping children from being too cynical. Holden wants children to still be able to care about things, to keep their enthusiasm, and to still be able to see all the good things in the world. (Holden is too cynical, doesn't care about anything, has zero enthusiasm, and views everything as lame. He doesn't want them turning into him.)
Melrose's Holden is depressed since his younger brother Allie died because of cancer and he thinks it was unfair since Allie was a good kid and why did he have to die rather than the phonies he met. His confused about everything he knows. I love this book because it was true whenever your depressed it's like you don't know anything but you question everything in order to understand what the hell is happening. And Holden (I think) was abused when he was a kid because when Mr. Antolini went weird on him, Holden stated that he has an experience with that kind of treatment.

The book was incredible because that author really just want to tell you a story he didn't used fancy grammars or deep metaphors but rather what is real. When you grow older they say you lose your soul. Holden wants to be a 'Catcher In The Rye' because when you grow older you perspective changes. When you a kid everything was colorful, bright and always new but when you get older you see the rotting and maddening world and that is why Holden wants to stay a child being innocent and the like. The very touching part was Phoebe kept him sane and made him stay. Even Holden was so damn near from quitting Phoebe kind of saved him. This book killed me.
Superladdercat The characters DO have an effect on him. What's important to understand is that the protagonist is in a dissociative state. He is not used to being close to people, and i don't think you can blame him. There are two Holden's in this novel: the one telling the story and the one feeling and going through the story, the horrible things happening and not understand stuff like where ducks go in the winter and how the fish survive are actually questions he has about himself: will i just disappear? Its about him learning that childhood is not equal to innocence and adulthood is not equal to corruption. It's beautiful (:
Emma Jiang Part of it is about escaping. Escape from a crowd city, because it lone you; escape from sexual life, because it unspirite you; escape from school, because it uneducate you; escape from adult world, because it kills you.
Amber Nothing, except that now you know that not every classic book is good. This book was just really boring
Yasen My opinion is that the book is about the paradoxes in life, the false values ​​of our human society. The protagonist is a teenager who studies in an elite school with wealthy boys. It should expect that he is in an elite society of teachers and peers, but it turns out that he did not feel well there, he can not accommodates among all these conformists, profoundless and careless teenagers, he has a much deeper sense of human relationships, he has virtues like duty, morality, dignity, which make it frustrated in their company. The paradox is that he was removed from school because he doesn't comply with the formal rules. So he goes on his way home, while also trying to fill emptiness and loneliness with any human interaction. Coupled with his childhood naivety and curiosity, it leads downhill whose bottom is the order of a prostitute and being involved in a quarrel with a pimp. If we spend this last story out of context - the teenager ordering a prostitute, we would perceive it as immoral and profoundless. But integrated into the whole story, it was an occasion to understand once again how life is paradoxical, because bad things always happen to good people.
Emilio Me The story teller it's a newyorker boy of sixteen years old... the mesage it's deep and it's about the world and the beauty - It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.
Galen Herod This is the prewar premonition of a doomed soldier to be.
Also, there is no new Salinger fiction. He went to his little shed everyday and just typed, "all work and no play makes jack a dull boy" over and over again. For 50 years.
Cora Books don't have to have an essence to them. Whatever you take away from them is right. Novels are another form of fine art, and just like everyone takes something different away from a painting, everyone will understand Catcher on a different level.

Holden is on a spiral to a mental hospital. Holden has lost his innocence. This want for childhood to freeze in time isn't like a Peter Pan "never grow up" plot. It's about dealing with the Sword of Damocles above his head that is Adulthood. Holden isn't innocent because he has to deal with the uncertainty of his career, future life, and love life. Holden longs for individualism (AKA the red hunting hat), but feels it suppressed to fit into the mold of Adult. Holden wants to have autonomy in making decisions for himself (like an adult), but at the same time wants to remain innocent like a child. It's an internal struggle that many teens and young adults go through. Catcher in the Rye is a classic because there's a part of Holden inside of all of us, a vulnerable child.

The extra information on the characters is really, how I see it, a way to build a world in a book. You feel like Holden is both a flat and round character at the same time. Being immersed in his world (even though the details can be somewhat overwhelming at times) makes the story richer.

Whatever you think the message or "lesson" of this collection of ideas is, your right.
Jude Ryan Searching for a message is asking the wrong question. Salinger may have something to say, but he is not trying to implant a moral lesson in the book. Holden is a lost boy, forced to face the reality that life can be incredibly cruel. His younger brother, whom Holden sees as a kind of guardian angel, has died of disease, Holden is surrounded at school by self serving phonies such as Stradlater, impotent teachers like Old Spenser, perverse false prophets like Antolini, superficial people like Sally Hayes, and abusers such as Maurice who pimps a teen age girl for his own profit. Those whom Holden values include the nuns whom he sees as sincere and kind, Jane Gallagher, a victim of her stepfather and possibly Stradlater, and the many others who go through life being seen as losers (such as Ackley) by the rest of society. As Holden tells us, life is only a game if you are on the side of the hotshots. If not, no game. Holden is also impotent (both sexually and in his ability to influence the larger world) and he suffers for that. He uses crude language not because it thrills or shocks but because he really means it. He said goddamn over 200 times. He means it. He believes the world to be damned by God and well deserving of its fate. Holden deserves our pity, not our disdain.
Shelly Pigman You will know that if a rich, lazy, white boy whom nothing is good enough for gets bored he may end up in an "institution".
Julia It seems that people like this book for the same reason that they like modern art. Because it can mean anything they want it to mean. There's enough violence and ambiguity for people to reflect their own "pet cause" onto the pages and feel like they have expressed themselves through the actions of Holden.
Mike This is an age-connected book,,period. I read it at 15 and it was the greatest thing to me since sliced bread was in invented, but if you are in your younger years, lets say, in your low 20's today. I say read the heck out of it....now! You will love it!

You will not connect with this book when you go into your older years. I tried to re-read it later on and I could not get halfway through it. I am glad I read this as a child.

Some books are meant to be read at a certain time in life. This is one of the few I can say that applies.

This is not a 'useless' book as you questioned.
Rupa Frankly I found the complaints rather tedious to tolerate as far as halfway through the book. But this was a teenager who very early on in his life was dealing with extreme situations such as the death of close ones at the same time struggling to be a part of his shallow(in his view) educational setting. This lead him to take on a hostile view of his peers whom he seemed to hate yet crave for as these experiences still reverberated in him confusing him to the core taking him far away from achieving clarity of thought. Thus his narration may seem rather rambling but it is up to the reader to connect the dots.
Abbie To me it's about human emotions and what it is like as a child to have to go through the traumatic experience of losing someone that you love and in doing so loosing some of your childhood experience. Its about Holden finally coming to terms with his loss and in doing so comes to the realisation that he wants to save other children from having the same experiences as him hence wanting to become the 'catcher in the rye'. Holden sees the world as fake and 'phony' and wants to protect his little sister and other children from seeing the world in the same way.
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