Catcher in the Rye Analysis

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Catcher in the Rye Analysis

Catcher in the Rye takes place in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, written in 1951 by J.D. Salinger. Salinger implores the reader to struggle alongside Holden Caulfield as protagonist and reader simultaneously explore the boundaries and meanings of childhood, innocence, and the duality of these two identities existing in tandem. Salinger has written Catcher in the Rye to preserve the struggle to find oneself, and the denial of one's growth, through loss, experience, and other various circumstances. Holden has many insights on typical topics. He believes that adults are corrupt, or “phonies” while children remain innocent. Holden is trapped in the ice between adulthood and childhood. Ice plays a big part in Catcher in the Rye. Holden questions where the ducks go when the water freezes over, indirectly questioning his own situation; he has been kicked out of a prep school, with nowhere to go for a while. Because of this, he has to leave his “habitat” and cross the “threshold” of childhood he is so accustomed to, and begin his journey in the real world.

Salinger makes Holden appear to be this cynical and bratty seventeen year-old boy; but as the story moves forward, the readers begin to see the depth to this teen, and his struggle in the world of adults and the conquering of his inner demons. As time goes on, Holden is unable to see, or perhaps accept, what’s wrong with him; therefore he plunges into depression, which eventually leads to a mental breakdown. He feels that only children are innocent, pure, and free of corruption, while adults are the corruption; he wants to keep the children away from this, which brings in his “catcher in the rye” theory of being in a field of rye as a career, catching children who are close to falling off the cliff of this rye. Holden realizes that this idea is silly and illogical, but has trouble seeing the world any other way. He retreats to this imaginary view of the world, instead of...
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