Jerome David Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye
This highly controversial novel is a frame story constructed through narrator’s memory discussing the theme of coming of age, issues of identity, alienation, and belonging and of deep connection.
Main protagonist Holden Caulfield, the seventeen-year-old school reject, was retelling his three day journey from latest school to his home. Story began at Saturday at Pencey Prep, an exclusive private school in Pennsylvania, where Holden has been expelled from. After saying goodbye to his history teacher Mr. Spencer and fight encounter with his dorm roommate Stradlater, Holden caught a train to New York City where he planned to stay in a hotel until Wednesday, when his parents expected him to return home for Christmas break. He met three women in their thirties, tourists from Seattle, in the Manhattan hotel lounge and enjoyed their company but ended up with only the check. Following a disappointing visit to Ernie's Nightclub in Greenwich Village, Holden agreed to have a prostitute, Sunny, visit his room. Holden had second thoughts and paid the girl to leave but her pimp Maurice had another idea and beat him up for more money. After a short sleep, Holden decided to phone Sally Hayes, a familiar date, and agreed to meet her that afternoon to go to a play. Meanwhile, Holden left the hotel, checked his luggage at Grand Central Station where he met two nuns. One of them is an English teacher, with whom he discussed Romeo and Juliet. Before the meeting with Sally, Holden had been looking for a special record for his 10-year-old sister, Phoebe, called "Little Shirley Beans." After the play Sally and Holden went skating at Radio City but fought when Holden suddenly suggested that they run off together. Holden left, saw the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall, endured a movie, and got drunk. With unfortunate incident Phoebe's record got broken. Exhausted he headed home to his sister where he told her about his dream “job” as the catcher in the rye field. Holden couldn’t stay, so he went to see another of his favorite teacher, Mr. Antolini with whom he hoped to stay for a few days. Monday morning, Holden arranged to meet Phoebe for lunch. He planned to say goodbye and head west but when she insisted on leaving with him he caves and agreed to stay. Story ended with Phoebe riding a carrousel in the rain as Holden watched on.