The Catcher in the Rye Is a Novel Which Evokes Hope and Despair for Holden Caulfield. Which Techniques Does Salinger Use to Do This?

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Q: The Catcher In The Rye is a novel which evokes hope and despair for Holden Caulfield. Which techniques does Salinger use to do this?

JD Salinger uses a variety of techniques to evoke both hope and despair for Holden Caulfield. Hope is explored as an emotional state where one believes in a positive outcome, whereas despair displays a complete lack of positive belief. J.D. Salinger uses such techniques as narrative style, symbolism and foreshadowing, in his novel The Catcher in the Rye. The reader’s feelings of despair and hopelessness for Holden Caulfield are stimulated through the use of Salinger’s narrative style. He is unable to logically sort information with a constant variation between flashbacks and events. For example, whilst Holden narrates his longing for a ‘good-by’ he then changes the subject and talks about playing football with Robert and Paul (pg. 4). His erratic and haphazard stream of consciousness is echoed by the juxtaposing sentence structure prevalent throughout the novel. The first sentence, being over four lines long, is contrasted by the short and uncontrolled statements Holden makes; “he’s in Hollywood”(pg. 1), “it killed me”(pg. 1). The staggered and abrasive pace of Holden’s stream of consciousness hints at his unsteady mental state. Through this disjointed sentence construction it becomes clear that Holden has no control over what and how he says something; “he’s got a lot of dough now. He didn’t use to.” (pg. 1) Coupled with the shortened sentences, Holden often deviates from the main course of the narrative. These digressions create an air of confusion and add to the random and uncontrolled pace of the novel; “he’s out in Hollywood being a prostitute. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the movies.” (pg.1) These digressions often end with the word ‘anyway’ as Holden attempts to return to the main story; “anyway, it was…”(pg.2), “anyway, it was December…”(pg.3) and “anyway, as soon…pg.4) These further highlight his unhinged state...
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