To kick off my Fall semester, I read The Catcher in the Rye (for the third time). It’s one of my favorites. Salinger always puts me in the perfect literary mindset.
I need to be in that mindset too, what with taking 15 credits of English/Writing classes and all.
The best thing about The Catcher in the Rye is Holden Caulfield. Why? Well among many attributes, he’s an unreliablenarrator. He lies to everyone around him, so he could be lying to the reader too. I love knowing that something else entirely different could have happened, but Holden won’t admit it.
The way he exaggerates everything. For example the scene when he visits Phoebe at home. Holden describes the bed and the desk in DB’s old room. He claims the desk is just as big as the bed, and tells the readers that the bed is, “about ten miles wide and ten miles long. (Pg 206)”.
Obviously it isn’t. Holden’s lying, or at least exaggerating. But it is exactly that which makes him an unreliable narrator. Other examples com into play throughout the novel. When Holden lies to the boys mother on the train, when he lies about his name to the women in the club, when he omits the fact that he’s been kicked out of Pencey to multiple people.
The reader never knows what will come out of Holden’s mouth next, and it keeps us on our toes. The Catcher in the Rye is the type of book you really have to pay attention to when you are reading it. Paying attention while reading will help the reader to catch the little things, like Holden’s lies.
I love unreliable narrators. Call me crazy, but I do. I especially love The Catcher in the Rye. Stay tuned for my fourth time reading the amazing story. It might be a while, since I have new reads on my list as well, but it will happen.
Or will it? 😉