The Catchter in the Rye Essay

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The Catcher in the Rye –
Salinger uses a variety of techniques to develop the major themes of The Catcher in the Rye. The statement that ‘Salinger uses a variety of techniques to develop the major themes of The Catcher in the Rye’ is true in a number of important ways. The major themes of the novel include the problems of alienation, sexual identity and overcoming personal loss within the context of the overall concept of inner journey. Salinger employs techniques such as “unreliable narrator”, colloquial “spoken” syntax and dramatic irony combined with symbolism and the use of recurring motifs. The combined effects of these techniques confirm the overall thesis of the novel in its depiction of the psychological development and struggle of the protagonist Holden Caufield to overcome the alienated conditions of his life. The ultimate triumph of Holden’s humanity in the stunning epiphany that effectively concludes the narrative raises this novel to the level of a modern classic. The theme of alienation is central to an understanding of the overall concept of inner journey in The Catcher in the Rye. For example, the technique of the “unreliable narrator” is used effectively by Salinger to create the persona of a confused and frightened character who cannot find his place in the world. This can be shown when Holden narrates that “some things are hard to remember” in the context of his fight with Stradlater in chapter 6. Holden attacked Stradlater because he was filled with uncontrollable rage when he believed Stradlater had had sex with Jane Gallagher (an old childhood friend of Holden). Holden cannot conceptualise and articulate his feelings in this situation and therefore cannot reliably inform the responder accordingly. It is possible that he is driven by a combination of sexual frustration and his subconscious desire to protect the sexual innocence of children. The overall effect of this technique is to demonstrate that he cannot sufficiently comprehend his...
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