Jerome David Salinger is the writer of the world wide cult book – The Catcher in the Rye.
The book is describing three days of Holden’s life, a teenager whose problems starts in sports and end with wonders about the world. "(By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over?)"
The book is in fact Holden’s description, of the three days it took him to reach his home in New-York. The description, as revealed near the end of the book, is given to his psychiatric in the clinic.
Each day, Holden finds out new facts about our world. He severely criticizes the American materialism, its shallowness and its hypocrisy. He is disgusted by our society and expresses his feelings in an extreme and sarcastic language.
Holden could easily be "The man next door" but he chooses to despise everything and criticize all around. Holden keeps emphasizing the human hypocrisy and uses the word phony to describe the shallowness of the people he meets.
According to psychology researches, Holden’s behavior shows typical adolescence symptoms but the intensity of them proves that he suffers from post trauma.
The death of his brother had a great impact on Holden. It can be seen by his bitterness. Dealing with death has usually three steps. 1 - Withdrawal and anger that comes out of repression and denial; 2 – Guilt and fear of death; 3 – Having new aspects of the situation. In Holden’s case, these steps were missing or mixing up so he looks at society (Include his parents and teachers) as cold and turning back.
The revulsion and contempt Holden feels towards religion represent his anti establishment attitude. He sees religion as the source of evil and as diversion of the right way.
Some popular motifs:
The name: "Coldfield" represents the hero’s coldness toward society and disgust of it.
The lake: The lake represents the body while the duck are the spirit. Both raise Holden’s question – where does the spirit go when the body dies.
The rye : Holden wants to be a partition. Partition between the field – the youth - life before his brother’s death, and the slander world of the adults. He’s still stuck in a childish stage and thinks he can save naiveté before it’s hurt by cruelty.