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The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye

Kate Warlothstar, May 15, 2011

Most authors hope to capture their reader’s hearts through specific literary techniques. In The Catcher in The Rye, the author, J.D. Salinger, successfully suggests the idea of alienation as self-protection through Holden Caulfield’s wild adventure and relationships with people. Ultimately, J.D. Salinger elaborates upon the issue of how identity affects humans and their progression, but weakens the different views of the conflict though his lack of perspective and point-of-view.
This novel was published in 1946 of December. During this time period, the war was ending and people were hoping for a better life than what they had possessed with the Great Depression and worldwide poverty. The reason The Catcher in The Rye contains a slight downfall during this time frame was because the point-of-view is seen through an adolescent boy, Holden Caulfield. But as the same time is explicates why the book became so popular. Not only did adults suffer from this time, but children did as well. Having a story told through a sixteen year olds perspective illuminates how children were affected by this era and how alienation as self-protection affected them.
Holden Caulfield explains “I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy” (1). The novel begins on a Saturday subsequent to the end of classes at Pencey Prep School in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. This is Holden’s fourth school he has been expelled from and he dreads every moment of going home. He spends his time doing a variety of things in order to avoid his current problem. Such as: visiting his old teacher, reviews his relationship with his roommate, Stradlater, travels to Manhattan to stay in a hotel, and visits many different type of people along the way. The story ends as Holden tell his sister that he is going to leave forever. As his sister, Phoebe arrives with a suitcase for her to run away with him, and they both begin to cry. Holden buys tickets for them to go to the zoo and as he watches Phoebe, it starts to rain and he realizes the happiness within him and remains cautiously optimistic about what the future has left to hold for him.
The theme displayed in the novel is the use of alienation as self-protection. Holden appears to be excluded from society and mistreated by the world around him. He almost considers himself trapped on “the other side” of existence and frequently tries to locate his way in a humanity he does not feel as if he belongs within. As the novel continues, the reader is able to recognize the isolation Holden encloses is his way of defending himself. As Holden interacts with people, it typically confuses and overwhelms him and fights it with is sense of self-protection. An example of what his isolation brings to him is “I looked out the window for a while, with my coat on and all. I did not have anything else to do” (61). He becomes extremely bored and never directly addresses his emotions so he can figure out his problems. He desperately longs for human contact and love but by shielding barrier he holds up from people makes it impossible for him to have any positive interactions. Alienation is enhanced through Holden’s strengths and limitations. For example he desires to be with Salley Hayes, but his need to be separated from people causes him to insult her and rive him away from having an intimate relationship.
Overall the book is a successful piece of art because of the interesting messages it brings about through Holden Caulfield’s character and past. When someone comes to a realization of how his or her identity is made though so many rational decisions, then the novel is concluded as effective. The coming of age and transitioning from a child to an adult is a difficult situation and the book explains the consequences involved with dwelling on the past and childhood. The book’s point-of-view serves as the books only downfall because it closes the perspective interpreted. All the detail Holden provides obliges as a unique tool in really getting into what the character is feeling which a vital part in understanding what literatures meaning is So much of the classics children have to read today are filtered with such difficult language to read. The Catcher in The Rye will stay in the future because it teaches a great message though fascinating story children will understand and want to learn.
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