Catcher in the Rye Essay

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‘The Catcher in the Rye’ - Essay

‘The Catcher in the Rye’ was written by American author, J.D. Salinger in 1951. The book was an instant success on publication, and still today, over sixty years later, the novel still sells around 250,000 copies each year. The author, J.D.Salinger, was born in New York and was a recluse from the army. After the success of the novel, J.D. Salinger cut himself off from society, and idea expressed many times by the main character, Holden Caulfield, in the novel. The book is set in 1950s America which for many was a time of prosperity and optimism because of the newly ended war. However, there were many cracks in the 1950s beginning to show. There was a huge baby boom, and rising consumerism along with the pressure to conform. This was mainly due to the fading confidence in religion, especially Christianity. People began to question what religion gave them, compared to the power money gave them. The 1950s was also the years which gave birth to the teenager. Teen icons in the form of anti-heros, such as James Dean, began to appear and there was a feeling of rebellion beginning to form among the young. Because of this movement, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ has a huge impact on society and those who read it. It expressed the feelings that the newly formed teens were experiencing in the form on Holden Caulfield, an awkward sixteen year old teenager who at the start of the novel is in a psychiatric institution and retells his story of how he got there. There are many themes in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, ranging from growing up to death, but the one that I feel is important is the theme of loneliness and isolation as it effects Holden the greatest.

We are first introduced to the theme of loneliness and isolation at the very start of the book, when he begins to look back on how he ended up in the psychiatric ward. Holden’s story begins with the day he was kicked out of his school, ‘Pencey Prep’ and he is watching the football game. He...
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