First person point of view is most often easier to read than other narrative styles because it shows the main character’s perspective. When a story is told in first person the reader can feel as if they are talking directly with the narrator. Writing in other styles of point of views would take away the connections between the narrator and the reader. Therefore, Salinger writing The Catcher in the Rye, in first person gave the reader a better connection to the book, if Salinger didn’t write in first person; it would take away the tone and characterization of the book.
In addition to Salinger telling the story in first person point of view he expresses tone. Tone is the writer’s attitude toward the material and or readers. Tone may be playful, formal, intimate, angry, serious, ironic, outraged, baffled, tender, or depressed. If Salinger decided to write in other narrative style the book would lose these factors that represent tone. Salinger uses tone to tell how the character Holden feels about things in his life throughout the book. Salinger starts the book off with the main character’s tone being negative and depressed.
For instance, Holden says: “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… ” (Salinger, Page 1). This starts to show that Holden is a negative person and doesn’t care about the good things he has in life. Also it shows how Salinger expresses the tone of the book which relates the depressed and serious attitude Holden has. Salinger expresses a serious tone by making Holden a person who doesn’t like phony things.
For example Holden talk about why he left his school Elkton Hills, “One of the biggest reasons I left Elkton Hills was because I was surrounded by phonies. That’s all. ” (Salinger, Page 13). Meanwhile Salinger also expresses a lot of characterization in The Cather in the Rye while writing in first person. The main character Holden gives a lot of details about the other characters in the book that the reader wouldn’t know about if Salinger wrote in a different narrative style.
Holden describes many of his friends or non friends throughout the book. For example Holden describes the girl Sally Hayes in ways that in another narrative writing the reader wouldn’t know the facts about her. “I gave old Sally Hayes a buzz. She went to Mary A. Woodruff, and I knew she was home because I’d had this letter from her a couple of weeks ago… ” (Salinger, Page 105) also when he describes Stradlater as “You take a very handsome guy, or a guy that thinks he’s a real hot-shot, and they’re always asking you to do them a big favor.
Just because they’re crazy about themselves, they think you’re crazy about them, too, and that you’re just dying to do them a favor. ” (Salinger, Page 50). In this case if Salinger used a different narrative style than first person point of view, the reader wouldn’t be able to know that Holden sent her a letter or know that she went to the place he described or how Stradlater acted or what type of person he was. Salinger expressed both characterization and tone throughout the book with writing it in first person point of view.
Choosing any other narrative style for this particular book would cause it to lose these two elements and would disconnect the connection between the reader and the narrator. Writing in first person gave the reader a connection any other narrative style couldn’t give. It provided the reader with specific details from the first person perspective from the main character Holden rather than trying to analyze what he was referring to in many situations. First person point of view proved to be the best writing style for this book.