What are some strengths of J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of the strengths of J. D. Salinger's novel is that the author does a thoroughly convincing job of making the reader believe the story is actually being told by a sixteen-year-old boy in contemporary teenage vernacular. Salinger achieves this effect partly by emphasizing that, although Holden has flunked out of three schools, he is recognized by his English teachers as an exceptionally good essay writer. The reader is caught in Holden's spell from the beginning, which opens as follows:

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

Another strength of Salinger's novel is in the characterization . Holden meets one character after another and sizes them up pretty accurately. This is really because many of them are types rather...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 705 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team