Narrator and point of view

The novel The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is narrated in the first person by Holden Caulfield, the main character. The narrator presents the events that took place a year before, around Christmas, before being hospitalized in an institution somewhere in California. The events are told retrospectively strictly from Holden’s perspective

As he recalls past events, the narrator often digresses and focuses on random things that remind him of something else. For example, the author uses the technique called stream of consciousness when the narrator starts talking about the day he left Pencey but digresses and talks about the football game instead. Soon after, he remembers to reveal that he was expelled: “I forgot to tell you about that. They kicked me out” (p. 4). Another example is when he talks about running to the Spencers’ home and randomly starts talking about his smoking habits:

I ran all the way to the main gate, and then I waited a second till I got my breath. I have no wind, if you want to know the truth. I'm quite a heavy smoker, for one thing – that is, I used to be. They made me cut it out. Another thing, I grew six and a half inches last year. That's also how I practically got t.b. and came out here for all these goddam checkups and stuff. I'm pretty healthy, though. (p. 5)

During his later conversation with Mr. Antolini, the narrator reveals that he has a thing for digressions, as he finds them more interesting than focusing on a single topic. 

The narrator’s tone is conver...

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