The novel “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger opens in a city located on an island off the coast of New England, specifically in New York City, situated on Manhattan Island. The protagonist and narrator of the story is Holden Caulfield, who is at first depicted as a sixteen-year-old boarding school student at Pencey Prep School in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. He embarks on a journey through various cities beginning with his departure from Pencey Prep and ending with his eventual return to Pencey (although it can be argued that he never truly left).
Like; what city and island does the novel open?
Holden’s journey starts when he leaves Pencey after being expelled for failing all four of his classes except English Composition. Upon leaving campus, Holden takes a train to New York City where he spends two days wandering around reflecting on life and events leading up to this point. He visits several locations including Radio City Music Hall where he purchases tickets for a show but then decides against going; instead choosing to spend time at Grand Central Station watching people board trains and thinking about how everyone has somewhere they are trying desperately to get too or escape from. He also visits Times Square which makes him reminisce about past memories there as well as contemplate more generally about life and death (“Don’t ever tell anybody anything,” he famously remarks). Other places visited include The Edmont Hotel – where Holden rents a room after spending the night sleeping fitfully in the lobby – the Lavender Room nightclub (which turns out to be closed) and Phoebe’s apartment building where he reflects fondly upon his younger sister before eventually leaving her and returning back out into the snowy winter night air in order to make one last stop: Mr Antolini’s house.
At Mr Antolini’s house Holden speaks with his former teacher/mentor who offers him some sage advice before sending him back onto the streets again; this time towards Penn Station -where Holden arranges for another ticket that will take him back home once more (this time without having been caught along his way). On arrival at Penn Station Holden pauses briefly before entering asking himself “Where do I go from here?” – hinting perhaps that even though our protagonist is physically closer than ever before toward home – emotionally speaking things still remain very distant indeed…