The Argument over the View of Human Condition: the Catcher in the Rey

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The novel The Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, involves a teenager named Holden Caulfield that swings between childhood and adulthood constantly. Salinger portrays Caulfield as an adolescent that goes through different levels of depression, which is what American youth were facing during the time period it was written. Critic Maxwell Geismer states the book protest “against both the academic and social conformity of its time period, but what does it argue for?” The book argues that society needs to consider their attitude toward the human condition. All humans reach a certain age that seems like they are facing the entire world by themselves. This suggests a new way to behave and see the world which may lead to the improvement of society. Salinger was communicating to his readers that the world of childhood and adulthood are not distant; the situations that occurred during the development forms the society that works today. Throughout his novel Salinger uses different literary devices, such as imagery, symbols, and allegory, to demonstrate the changes Holden goes through. Holden's difficult journey is seen as an allegory for the ideals of youth contrasting to the adult reality. Holden can be cynical and a disillusioned character at times because of the material world he lives in. This is a way in which society can improve upon because moving away from material needs will allow for the change on how humans view things. Adults try to focus on how adolescents should act in a certain way. Since the time period in which it was meant to portray was known as the age of conformity, they tended to overlook key facts such as racism, sexism and loss of individuality. Holden tries to find himself through the journey that he was taking. He tries to be curious about certain topics, for example when Holden starts to ask about the ducks in the pond, the ducks can be seen as a symbol of curiosity. He looks for any opportunity to bring up the topic and start a...
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