Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is valid, realistic, representation of the adolescent world. The book is about adolescent crisis.
The main character, Holden, runs away from his expensive school because he is an academic failure and finds intolerable the company of so many phoneys. Holden is a rangy sixteen year old who has grown too fast. Girls are on his mind. Whenever girls do something pretty, even if they're ugly or stupid, you fall half in love with them. "Sex is something I really don't understand too hot. You never know where the hell you are. I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away. Last year I made up a rule that I was going to quit horsing around with girls that, deep down, gave me a pain in the ass. I broke it, though, the same week I made it . . . Sex is something I just don't understand."2
Salinger sees that all the contradictions, agonies, and exaltations of adolescence stem from the central fact: "that the adolescent has newly gained the physical potentialities for sexual experience but has not learnt to integrate them either within himself or in any consistent relation to the demands of society."3 From this flows everything-the confused idealism of his attitude to Jane Gallagher; the naively unscrupulous calculatingness of his adventures; the wish for experiment and the corresponding fear and revulsion; a general fascination and disgust with the physical-Ackley's pimples, Stradlater's toenails; a new horrified awareness of the physical process.
Holden's anguished confusion about sex gives us the measure of both the depth and complexity of his conflict. Sexual awareness is conspicuously...
... middle of paper ...
...m Marsden If You Really Want to Know: A Catcher Casebook (Chicago: Scott, Foresman & Co , 1963) p.76
2. Norman Fruman and Marvin Laser Studies in J D. Salinger (New York: The Odyssey Press, 1963) p. 196.
3. Laser, Opcit., p.74.
4. Ibid., p.153.
5. Ibid., p.121.
6. J D Salinger The Catcher in the Rye (Boston: Little Brown, & Co. 1945) pp. 224-225.
7. Henry Grunwald ed. Salinger (New York: Harper & Row 1962) p. 15.
8. Charles Dickens The Tale of Two Cities (New York: New Amsterdam Library, 1960) p.1.
9. Grunwald, Opcit., p. 202.
10. Laser, Opcit., p. 71.
11. Ann Elwood and Carol Madigan Brainstorms & Thunderbolts (New York: Macmillan Co. 1983) p. 101.
12. Ibid., p.101.
13. Laser, Opcit. , p. 77.
14. Salinger, Opcit., p. 242.
15. Ibid., p. 264.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- It is widely agreed that Salinger’s Catcher in The Rye is unarguably the quintessential coming of age and initiation story . This story has been compared against Ellis’ Less Than Zero and T.S. Elliot’s Wasteland as being among the literature that best elucidates the alienation of our youth . The story of Holden’s transition into manhood has been compared against the American transition into consumerism after the world wars . The story has been elevated above bildungsroman to an epic of Odyssean proportion .... [tags: holden, nuns, charity]
2635 words (7.5 pages)
- “Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.” - Martin Luther King Jr. Symbols are not defined by words, but by the way one feels toward it. The emotional connection between a symbol and a person can only be showed through the heart and soul. In the Catcher in the Rye, J.D Salinger uses symbolism to show Holdens contradictory personality and his crisis with adolescences.... [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]
797 words (2.3 pages)
- Themes in literary works are central, recurring ideas or messages that allow us to understand more deeply about the characters. It is a perception about life or human nature that is often shared with the reader. In The Catcher in the Rye, there are several themes that can be found in the words and actions of the narrator, Holden Caulfield. The dominating theme in this novel is the preservation of innocence, especially of children. We can see this throughout the novel, as Holden strives to preserve innocence in himself and others.... [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]
539 words (1.5 pages)
- The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J.D. Salinger. It is narrated by Holden Caulfield, a cynical teenager who recently got expelled from his fourth school. Though Holden is the narrator and main character of the story, the focus of Salinger’s tale is not on Caulfield, but of the world in which we live. The Catcher in the Rye is an insatiable account of the realities we face daily seen through the eyes of a bright young man whose visions of the world are painfully truthful, if not a bit jaded. Salinger’s book is a must-read because its relatable symbolism draws on the reader’s emotions and can easily keep the attention of anyone.... [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]
777 words (2.2 pages)
- With every articulated drop of knowledge and accentuated measure of experience, comes a vast crescendo of soundness and wisdom. Acquiring these necessities of life may take a person, or a nation, decades of determination and desire for change to develop. If not given enough time, however, the individual or nation might descend and linger in a stage of naivety—where knowledge is too scarce to truly understand and evaluate all the experiences they have gone through in the world. Our nation is, and has always been, a nation succumbing to the weakness of our naivety due to the critical lack of the incandescent wisdom and maturity it needed in order for peace to prevail.... [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]
1396 words (4 pages)
- ... What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they 're running and they don 't look where they 're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That 's all I 'd do all day. I 'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it 's crazy, but that 's the only thing I 'd really like to be. I know it 's crazy" (224). Holden wants to save these kids from going down the wrong path even though they do not know where they are going they are just playing a game, and this path represents their lives.... [tags: The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger]
1149 words (3.3 pages)
- The Catcher in the Rye, like many other great works, was met by scornful criticism and unyielding admiration. However, many literary critics also marveled at Salinger's use of language, which was used to make Holden Caulfield, the main character, extremely realistic. Such language includes both repetition of phrases and blatant cursing, in order to capture the informal speech of the average, northeastern American adolescent. Through Holden's thoughts and dialogues, Salinger successfully created a teenage boy.... [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]
1701 words (4.9 pages)
- J.D. Salinger's Catcher In The Rye The passage of adolescence has served as the central theme for many novels, but J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, long a staple in academic lesson plans, has captured the spirit of this stage of life in hyper-sensitive form, dramatizing Holden Caulfield's vulgar language and melodramatic reactions. Written as the autobiographical account of a fictional teenage prep school student Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye deals with material that is socially scandalous for the times (Gwynn, 1958).... [tags: J.D. Salinger Catcher Rye Essays]
1472 words (4.2 pages)
- Levels of Meaning in The Catcher in the Rye Protected by a cocoon of naiveté, Holden Caulfield, the principal character in the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, therapeutically relates his lonely 24 hour stay in downtown New York city, experiencing the "phony" adult world while dealing with the death of his innocent younger brother. Through this well-developed teenage character, JD Salinger, uses simple language and dialogue to outline many of the complex underlying problems haunting adolescents.... [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]
901 words (2.6 pages)
- Holden Caufield emphasizes on the loss of innocence in children. He feels that once they lose their innocence, they will soon turn into phonies like everyone else. The loss of innocence is very common in the development in human existence. It is caused by many factors. Past a certain age, children are either forced or led unintentionally into a pathway of corruption. A child is also known to lose their innocence by desires, fantasies, and attention. But once they lose their innocence, they tend to desire to go back and pretend to be young again.... [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]
1876 words (5.4 pages)
- Compare and Contrast the Lives of Buddha and Jesus
- Opposition of Black and White in Heart of Darkness
- Metaphors and Repetition in Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
- Comparison of Philippine Insurrection and Vietnam War
- Catcher in the Rye Essay: Holden and the Complexity of Adult Life
- Catcher in the Rye Essay: Themes of Society and Growing Up