The Catcher in the Rye's Relevance to a Present Day Audience

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The style and the concerns of The Catcher in the Rye, written by J. D. Salinger in 1951, continue to interest a present day audience as it draws attention to human problems through the eyes of Holden Caulfield, who rejects the “phony world of adults”, the teenage conflict of staying as a child and “growing up” and rejection of society for the sake of self – protection. J. D. Salinger has shown this through the creation of the unique voice of Holden Caulfield. Some of the examples of events shown through this voice also teach us lessons about life. The Catcher in the Rye shows that everyone will grow unavoidably into maturity. Even for the period this book is written in, Holden Caulfield is not an average teenager. He has flunked out of four schools. He detests the “phoniness of the adult world” as he believes that adults always lie about themselves and show a false personality. As he realises that he is no longer in the stage of childhood, Holden decides to try not to grow up and attempt to stop other children from becoming corrupted, like when he describes his idea as a future occupation: “What I have to do I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff- I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them”. The title of the novel and this allusion to the poem by Robert Burns shows that Holden has a strong sense of innocence, which he cannot let go of and sees only one occupation for him in the future. Holden also learns that not all adults are phonies, like the nuns he met at the train station: “That’s what I like about those nuns. You could tell, for one thing that they never went anywhere swanky for lunch or anything.” Allie, his younger brother, had been another one who was full of childhood innocence in Holden’s view. When Holden visits the school which he had went to and his sister went to, he tries to rub off some swear words that were written on the walls of the building. The...
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