Essay: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Sample Essay

A young man by the name of Holden Caulfield narrates the story in the 1950s but he does not state his exact location. Gathering from his narration it is clear that he is undergoing treatment in a mental health institution.  He is speaking about the events that took place a few days after school close for fall vacation and Christmas when the boy is sixteen years of age. His story begins in his fourth school having fallen out of the first three.

The school is known as Pencey prep school, which is in Pennsylvania. His academic performance is below per for he has failed in four subjects out of five and is on the verge of being expelled.  He visits his history teacher, Spencer to bid him farewell but he is annoyed after his teacher decides to reprimand him for his poor performance in school. Since Holden seems not to understand how life should be lived he is told by Spencer “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.”“Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it.”Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game, all right”.(Salinger 6) Spencer wants Holden to be realistic in whatever he does and accept that he is the main source of his failures. Holden does not want any one who accuses him of his failures for he considers himself to be on the other side of the game. Instead of listening to what he is been told he gets mad and walks out.

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