Catcher in the Rye Thesis Essay

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In the classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the character of Holden is introduced. Over the course of the novel, we learn a great deal about the bond that used to exist between Holden and a childhood friend named Jane. The two have not communicated in a while and he does not even see or talk to her throughout the course of the novel. Still, Holden reminisces about their past and how their friendship came to be. The inclusion of this character allows the author to elaborate and explain some of Holden’s past, the reasons why Holden thinks the way he does, and how his insecurities envelop him.

Throughout the story, the character of Jane is brought up quite a lot. Even when he just starts telling us about her, it is evident that she played an important role in his childhood. Whenever Holden talks about somebody being phony, his thoughts always wander off to Jane. The first time we, as readers, heard about Jane was during one of the first few chapters. When Holden’s roommate, Stradlater, mentions that she is the girl that he is going on a date with, it’s apparent that Holden is pleasantly surprised. He exclaims, “Boy, I nearly dropped dead when he said that.” right after Stradlater mentions Jane’s name. Holden dwells on the topic of Jane, asking him where she is now, where she goes to school, and how she happened to mention him. Then, Holden begins telling Stradlater about his days with Jane Gallagher. He mentions her past as a dancer and the times he used to play checkers with her. He remembers all these little details about Jane. He states “she wouldn’t move any of her kings… She’d just leave it in the back row.” Using Jane as a gateway into Holden’s past, the author is able to give the readers bits of clues about Holden’s childhood and how he grew up. Many times when Holden is alone, he thinks of Jane and recalls the moments they spent together and his past. Through Holden’s anecdotes, Salinger is able to share some of Holden’s past and his...
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