The Catcher in the Rye Relative to the 1950's
The Catcher in the Rye can be strongly considered as one of the greatest novels of all time and Holden Caufield distinguishes himself as one of the greatest and most diverse characters. His moral system and his sense of justice force him to detect horrifying flaws in the society in which he lives. However, this is not his principle difficulty. His principle difficulty is not that he is a rebel, or a coward, nor that he hates society, it is that he has had many experiences and he remembers everything.
Salinger indicates this through Holden's confusion of time throughout the novel. Experiences at Whooten, Pency, and Elkton Hills combine and no levels of time separate them. This causes Holden to end the novel missing everyone and every experience. He remembers all the good and bad, until distinctions between the two disappear. Holden believes throughout the novel that certain things should stay the same. Holden becomes a character portrayed by Salinger that disagrees with things changing. He wants to retain everything, in short he wants everything to always remain the same, and when changes occur; Holden reacts. However the most important aspect of Holden Caufield's character can be attributed to his judgment of people. Holden Caufield, a character who always jumps to conclusions about people and their phoniness, can be labeled as a hypocrite because he exemplifies a phony himself.
During the 1950's America was recovering from the greatest war in the World. There was a cloud of forgetfulness after the war, people didn't want to remind themselves of all the bad things. People wanted to celebrate everything, but some people like Holden Caufield didn't feel all the phoniness is necessary to live life.
The 1950's is so remanincannot
of the 1920's, the world had just finished
a war and it was suppost to be freedom and happiness for all. Everything seemed to be artificially okay. America's economy was booming Southern California was once again known for its movies rather than a important piece of the War Effort, Paris was once again the center of world, and even Las Vegas started to grow with the help of the mofia. Everything was romanticised, they should have called the 1950's the roaring 50's. Yet while all this was goin on America and the Soviet Union started pointing Nuclear bombs at each other, and independent countries formed out of the Colonial Empires of the British, French, Germany, and Spain.
Its possible to see how Holden thought most people were phonies. It was a period of "not seeing the visible." Except for the fact that not everybody was blind, and that was where Holden lost touch.
Holden Caufield the 16 year old protaginist and main character of The Catcher in the Rye narrates the story and explains all the events throughout three days of his life. A prep school student who has just been kicked out of his second school, Holden struggles to find the right path into adulthood. He does not know what road to follow and he uses others as the scapegoat's for his puzzlement in life.
His problem is that he wants to retain a child's innocence, at a time when almost everybody tried to retain their innocence. Even though Holden tries to act like an adult at times, he is actually afraid of the adult life and as a way to escape life, he creates this character, the catcher in the rye, throughout his thoughts. He feels that by saving the children from falling off the cliff, he saves them from falling into the adult world that he disgusts. He feels that this character can prevent the children from becoming adults by remaining in that childish world Holden pictured.
"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around-nobody big, I mean except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff."(Salinger 173)...
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