The Catcher in the Rye and the Truman Show Essay

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J.D Salinger explores many ideas of identity in his book ‘The Catcher in the Rye’; these ideas include ego, expression, personality, environment and perception. The author uses many features such as first person narration to express these ideas of identity. Identity is a common theme in many works including ‘The Truman Show’ directed by Peter Weir and poem ‘Life-Cycle’ written by Bruce Dawe. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is an emotional journey of 16 year old Holden Caulfield who is struggling to recognise his identity. Holden’s journey begins at Pencey Prep, one of three schools he attended and was expelled from. Holden then narrates as through the events following his expulsion from Pencey Prep and his eagerness to avoid his parent’s disappointment. Holden spends the couple of days before his parents are informed of the expulsion in New York meeting with old friends and acquaintances. On his third night alone he goes to visit his younger sister Phoebe who he describes as being highly intelligent for her age. She calls him up on his behaviour, although it isn’t until he later visits Mr Antolini that he begins to see reason and returns home.

The book is told as a series of flashbacks by Holden as he sits in a Californian Hospital due to his poor mental health. Ego, described as “self-esteem or self image” ( is a common theme in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. Holden very frequently refers to himself as some sort of introvert, after his fight with Stradlater at Pencey “I’m not too tough. I’m a pacifist, if you want to know the truth.” Although, this seems unlikely given the nature of the fight, however, much later in the novel Holden is being beaten by Maurice and does not do a thing to defend himself proving himself to be a pacifist.

Holden often says that he appears much older than he really is, especially due to some grey hair, this also seems unlikely as evident when in the Lavender Room he is rejected by some women because they see him...
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