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The Catcher in the Rye

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READING AMERICAN BESTSELLERS

 교육학부 1615759 김수현

Before I tell the reasons why I think The Catcher in the Rye became a best seller in America, I’d like to mention about the time period background when the novel was published. It was published in 1950s. After World War Ⅱ, Americans wanted peace and stability. And also America’s economy was in a prosperous condition. However, unlike this material prosperity, there were people who thought that spiritual value was disdained.

        In this situation, here is my first reason. I think that J.D. Salinger was one of the people who thought that people disdained spiritual value. He described that in the novel, Pency, the prep school where the main character went was full of people who just care how they look outside. I think in that time, people who wanted to criticize this situation would like to read The catcher in the Rye. Not only people in that time, but also people who lives present read this novel a lot. I think today is more material-centered society than 1950s, so that is why people read this even if it is old.

I think the second reason why The Catcher in the Rye is best seller is because of the theme of the novel. The catcher in the Rye is the story about high school student who was kicked out of the school, wandering around all New York. I think that it really shows well about adolescence’s mind. These days, there are many studies that shows the characteristic of the adolescence. However, in the old days there were less studies about adolescence. Because people just thought that adolescence were incomplete version of adult. They don’t admit adolescence’s own characteristic and culture.

In the catcher in the Rye, the main character named Holden , showed well about his own mentality. I think that through this book, many adolescence readers would be fascinated by the character. Because they might not know why they were doing like this like how Holden did in the book. They might identify with themselves with Holden. I think that is the one reason why still many adolescences read the catcher in the Rye.

I also tried to find out not only adolescences but adults were fascinated by the novel. I think that human always have impulse to get out of from the society. Just do whatever they want considering nothing. I think that as human gets older, this kind of impulse is getting weaker. Because they just follow the society. In my opinion, this kind of impulse is not always bad, because I think that it can grow up our thought and creativity. Without this impulse, people will just satisfy with their current life, not trying to make their lives better.

However, the main character Holden, felt a lot of impulse to getting out of the society. By reading this novel, adult can think of their old days, and think creatively. I think that adults would be fun, thinking about their old days and trying to live their lives more creatively. Not only the catcher in the Rye, but that is the reason why people have to read novels.

In the novel, Holden’s younger sister, Phoebe is very interesting character. Holden described her as a very smart and vivid. Holden changed his plan not to get away from the society because of her. In the novel, Holden hated almost everyone. Because he thought that many of the people he met were kind of people who care about only material things not spiritual things. Phoebe was the last person he didn’t hate. He even gave his red hunting hat to her which he wore when he wanted to get comfort. I think it was because of her innocence that only can be showed in the young days. She did what she likes, didn’t care about how they look. She liked to write novels, making her own novel’s character. As I can see in this episode, she is also very creative.

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