The Catcher in the Rye – Dear Entry

Over the previous days, I began reading The Catcher in the Rye, and although I have only read several pages, I find it rather pleasurable thus far. The novel commences with the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, recounting his story at Pencey Preparatory – a private school in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. From reading the opening sentence of the novel, the reader gets dragged into Holden’s world, where they can follow his exact thought processes, as well as the ups and downs of his life. By using first person to narrate the novel, it creates a subjective style from the point of view of Holden, which allows us to be in his shoes. This novel evolves around major issues of identity, belonging, loss and alienation.

“Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules” (page 9).

I particularly liked this line in the novel. This line is excerpted from the conservation between Mr Spencer, Holden’s history teacher, and Holden. Spoken by Mr Spencer, it is addressed to Holden when he pays him a visit. I find this line significant, as it brings an insight into Holden’s world and conveys to the reader the circumstances he is situated in. “Life is a game” implies the competition involved, as well as the sense that one can either win or lose in the game. Moreover, life is about making incorrect decisions then starting over, acquiring knowledge from previous failures and utilising them to ensure you win the game or gain the best results. Mr Spencer is encouraging Holden to not succumb to his current circumstances and instead, to give it another shot. Not only does this encouragement apply to Holden, but is further conveyed to the reader – to inspire and spark a flare of hope in those who are situated in obnoxious circumstances.

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