“Is The Catcher in the Rye, as a work of literature still relevant for today’s youth?”
Name: Sara Sigurdson
Course: English A1
Supervisor: Mr. Peter Steadman
Word count: 3851
Candidate number: 00136022
Table of Contents
The Actual Catcher in the Rye4
The Sexual Matter5
The Caulfield Family6
Narrator and Protagonist8
It is not Criticism13
Conclusion – Fall of Innocence15
Works Cited List17
This essay is a detailed analysis about The Catcher in the Rye investigating whether it is relevant for youth and society in the present day. The essay investigates how the author, Jerome David Salinger (J.D.) develops a mixture of themes throughout the novel such as: the fall of innocence, sexuality, culture exposure, depression and more to portrayal Holden Caulfield's relationship to society. The investigation is made through looking at the narrator-based story, also evaluating the step between adolescence and adulthood. With this information, investigation and research from a mixture of resources an analysis is made and parallels are being drawn between the 1950's society and the society we live in today. An evaluation about the novels relevance to the targeted audience of adolescence as a guidance through the step of becoming an adult is made and the essay concludes by drawing connections of the eternal relevance of protecting innocence. This analysis shows that The Catcher in the Rye treasures the importance of implementing a pattern for upcoming generations’ awareness of the essential step between adolescence to adulthood.
Three years ago I opened a well-worn book that my brother wanted me to read. He looked into my eyes and uttered with an eager voice “Sara, read this! I love this story and I picture you as the protagonist's little sister”. From this day, with the 214 pages in my hands I started a journey together with Holden Caulfield – the protagonist of the novel - and his relationship and stories to the world that he lived in. From the first page that I read it was magnetism between me, Holden’s lifestyle and J.D Salinger's writing style and I found a thought-provoking ambition to protect innocence in the way Holden was acting. The Catcher in the Rye gave me the ability to intersect the thoughts of my everyday life, Holden's thoughts and the thoughts of what seemed to be the rest of society.
This stepped forward as an interesting pattern and I saw it as an alluring opportunity to create a controllable, narrowed down topic. I have therefore selected focused key issues and brought out examples from the novel to make this analysis possible. “Is The Catcher in the Rye, as a work of literature relevant for today's youth?” Is my research question, building up evidence for why I believe that it is. This question gives me the opportunity to craft diversity into my essay, as the combination of Salinger's lexis and the vulnerability of character and language forms evidence of eternal relevance.
The Actual Catcher in the Rye
A great starting point and one of the most significant examples of the protection of pure youth in this novel - both when this novel was written in the 1950’s and now - is when the narrator Holden Caulfield starts explaining to his little sister Pheobe what his idea about being the catcher in the rye is.
"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. 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...