Why is Holden Caulifield, from J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, a popular character in literary history?  

Expert Answers
tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

J.D. Salinger's book The Catcher in the Rye caused great controversy when it was first published, which caused it to become infamously as well as famously acclaimed. With all of the swearing and promiscuous activity, it was infamous with conservatives. But the book brought up subjects that were not discussed in public, such as: mental health, teenage promiscuity, and the deep thoughts of adolescents. Kids growing up in the 1940s and 1950s were taught to be seen and not heard. Certainly, this book gave a voice to those who struggled like Holden did. Those conservatives who only saw the swearing and promiscuity weren't listening to reality. When people don't acknowledge reality, and choose to sweep it under the rug, issues don't get discussed or solved. Holden has a major mental and emotional break down because of so many of his issues were not discussed with competent adults or professionals. Holden's brother had died and it seemed like he was never able to heal from that properly. Holden's older brother lived all the way across the country and he was left to deal with parents who sent him off to school without visiting much. There are probably many more reasons as to why Holden is popular, too, but mostly he's unique and challenges society to think about deeper issues and to realize that life isn't as wonderful as it seems on the surface.

Read the study guide:
The Catcher in the Rye

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question