Catcher in the Rye

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“Salinger’s Reality” Being one of the most widely read authors in the English language, J. D. Salinger has successfully kept himself out of the public eye for most of his career (Grodin 1). Growing up during the times of the Great Depression, the 1920’s and 1930’s, Salinger never really felt any direct affects from it. His father was a prosperous Jewish importer, and his mother, a Scots-Irish house wife (DiscAut 1). During his childhood, Salinger’s family was well off, and could afford to send him to several private prep schools. Most of which he was expelled from. He finally graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy in 1936, with ideas for characters that he had found in the people at his school (DiscAut 1). He later attended Columbia University, concentrating mainly on writing. Here he would meet Whit Burnett, the founder of Story and the one who got the ball rolling for Salinger’s short story writing talent. Salinger has developed a writing style in which he uses his characters to explain how people fall victim to society: its pressures and expectations. Some say that the only true way to discover Salinger’s true self, is to study The Catcher in the Rye. Research shows that Salinger’s values are directly portrayed in Holden’s personality, the main character in his only novel. “Self-critical, curious, and compassionate, Holden is a moral idealist whose attitude is governed by a dogmatic hatred of hypocrisy”(DiscAut 1). In many ways, this is true about Salinger. In his writings, Salinger searches for the meaning of life, and “comments on the flaws and merits of American Society”(DiscAut 1), as does Holden. Holden has been expelled from many prep schools, lives in New York, and is under extreme pressure from his parents who urge his success. Basically, this is Salinger in a nut shell. One of the driving forces behind Salinger’s ideology of society is that of his experiences in World War II. He views war as the ultimate obscenity of l…