The most noticeable motif throughout the novel is Holden’s constant involvement with women and girls. On nearly every page, Holden converses with women, thinks about women, or asks about women. This obsessive nature can best be described through the quote, “That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are.” INTERNAL DOC In this quote, Holden expresses his love for all women and explains his need to always want their company. This reflects Salinger’s life as well. Salinger had an extensive history with women and all have been younger than him. The youngest, Jean Miller, was 14 when 30-year-old Salinger struck up a romance with her. Miller recalled him asking her if she believed in God, to which she commented, “No adult had ever talked to me [like that]. Not only that, no adult had ever listened to me.” This shows both similarities in Holden and Sal...
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...lden’s hospitalization. The reader finds out within the first chapter that Holden is being hospitalized due to a recent mental breakdown (Salinger). Interestingly enough, Salinger was also hospitalized shortly after his combat in WWII for his mental breakdown (Biography). Clearly, Salinger was making a major connection to himself through Holden by giving his character his mentality.
It is often said that art is an imitation of life and in J.D. Salinger’s case, The Catcher in the Rye was the author’s imitation of his own life. This novel has retained popularity and influence among society for this very reason. In order to have meaningful, moving literature, the author must pour himself into his work. This profound artwork exemplifies Salinger’s life, deepest thoughts, and unspoken feelings, thus, making it an unforgettable piece of literature that withstands time.
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