The beauty of Catcher in the Rye lies not in the plot nor in the technique the author, J. Salinger, uses to tell his story, but in the depth of the character of Holden Caulfield. Any Grade 10 English class could spend ages just analyzing the complexity of this 17-year-old boy. Most will describe him as an insecure and troubled (possibly insane) teenager with mental and emotional issues that need to be worked out. I think these flaws of his just add to the intrigue of his personality. Is Holden not just an average teenager with flaws possibly exaggerated for a simple kick for the story?.
Holden, in my opinion, is an amazing character. He is a rebel at heart with the gift of a sense of humor (satirical or not). He picks up easily on the flaws of humans in general, never mind that he has fatal flaws of his own. He is a free-spirited, non-conformist bohemian who questions authority and avoids the mainstream. Wouldn’t the world be a little better if we were each a little more like Holden? Or at least, if we were more accepting towards the controversial likes of his?.
I believe this novel was controversial not because of its “freelance- style of writing nor because of the risquA(C) topics the author covered, but because, for once, Holden was not a character you could put your finger on. You could not describe him in one word, let alone in one sentence. People, generally, can not seem to be able to agree on what kind of person he is. You cannot classify him into a certain group of people.
Of course, there will always be backlash against controversial work. And it was even more controversial in the 50’s. But I suppose, with the backlash, the counter-backlash was that people began to idolize either Holden or the novel. It was something new and exciting. And whether or not it was well written, people liked it, which is what matters in the end.
My first impression of the novel was that it was depressing.