If you really want to hear about it, The Catcher in the Rye would be quite different in its message if told from a point of view other than Holden Caulfield. Holden s questionable instability / personality would not be fully addressed, the book would lose much of its bulk, and it would end up having a totally different story line. Narrator, Holden, exposes himself - allowing the reader to see precisely what kind of guy he is. Although the question of his normality is often argued, the train of consciousness narrative, which J. D. Salinger uses in writing this book, creates a terrifyingly familiar personality to which the reader can relate.
Holden is in everyone. To quote Mark Phillips in his essay, Holden Caulfield Revisited, Holden Caulfield will survive as the vicarious voice of generation after generation of American adolescents... and... some adults will continue to read it. Furthermore, Holden never revealed himself to anyone. Had the story been told from anybody else s point of view, Holden s personality would have barely, if at all, been touched on.
Possibly Sally could have said something of Holden s oddness after he basically attacked her at the skating rink - rather unlikely, though, seeing as she was a rather dense phony... at least from Holden s biased narration. If The Catcher in the Rye were denied Holden s narration, it would be a much slimmer novel. Nobody else in the story appears to be as random; the sporadic flashbacks / explanations would be done away with - no unexplained irrelevant stories of roomates who envied his fountain pen, or the girl to whom he almost gave the time. Moreover, phrases such as that kills me and goddam spew forth from Holden s storyteller lips.
One wonders how many pages of the book could be done away with if these (and other) repeated Holden-isms were cut out. Consequently, how much humor would be lost if this was done The Catcher in the Ry is Holden s story. He is the only main character. All of the other people enter in and shape or mold his character in some way, but none of them are nearly as important. Had Catcher been told by any of the supporting characters (anyone but Holden), not only would the reader be denied the full effect of Holden (as mentioned earlier), he or she would be introduced to totally new story lines.
Only a fraction of one of these alternately told stories would contain incidents mentioned in the original. To make it a story of any substance past five or six pages, chapters of the new storyteller s life would be told - creating an entirely different book altogether. If told in an omniscient third person, Catcher would most likely end up as more of an essay about Holden s actions and psyche. However interesting it may be, The Catcher in the Rye could not be told from any other characters point of view and remain The Catcher in the Rye that kills me time and time again.