Catcher in the Rye: Analysis

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The Catcher in the Rye Analysis

J. D. Salinger presents an image of an atypical adolescent boy in The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is much more than a troubled teen who just going through "a phase." Holden is a very special boy with special needs. He doesn’t understand and doesn’t wish to understand the world around him. In fact most of the book details his guilty admissions of all the knowledge he knows but wishes he didn’t. The Catcher in the Rye has many themes, but they all focus on the message that growing up is a painful process that teens go through in search for their true identity.

Throughout the novel, instead of developing a plot line, Salinger spends more time developing his main character, Holden. According to Reference Answers, “…most of the plot is mundane and uneventful; it only becomes interesting because Salinger makes the character of Holden and the perspective through which Holden narrates the story interesting”. It is this character development that allows teens to connect with Holden’s struggle to deal with the world around him. One issue he deals with as a 16 year old is his use of alienation as a form of self protection. Many teens go through this phase; but Holden does not realize that alienating himself is the real cause for his pain. He never addresses his own emotions directly, nor does he make the effort to search of the roots of his problems. For example, his loneliness plays a factor on his date with Sally Hayes in which he insults her and drives her away. He fears a closeness to other people and the only person who had may have been willing to feel close to, Jane Gallagher, he fears reaching out to her. He uses his alienation as a crutch but it destroys him as opposed to helping him.

“Phoniness”, which is probably one of the most famous phrase from The Catcher in the Rye, is one of Holden’s favorite concepts. “The only people he trusts and respects are Allie, his deceased brother, and Phoebe, his younger sister. Everyone else...
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