Catcher in the Rye Analysis

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Catcher in the Rye Essay

Alienation is one of humanity’s greatest fears. No one wants to feel isolated and alone, unless of course alienation is the best way to protect one’s self. When you lose something you have allowed yourself to love, it is only natural to become aware of the risks that affection and care bring with them. Holden Caulfield is no exception. After losing his younger brother, Allie, to leukemia 3 years prior, Holden, a 16-year-old academic dropout, has successfully isolated himself from any meaningful relationships that he could possibly lose. The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, explores the build up and the tear down of emotional barriers that come after experiencing grief and loss. In a time of confusion and pain, alienation as a form of self-protection seems logical for Holden, but as the novel progresses, he learns that outreach and love are his biggest sources of strength.
Salinger utilizes the point of view the novel is written in to enhance this idea of alienation and solitude. Catcher is written in first person, specifically in the perspective of Holden. The reader is now included into Holden’s most intimate thoughts. The first person point of view portrays Holden’s loneliness greater than any other outside perspective could. The ability to know and be intimate with Holden’s feelings, thoughts, and emotions draws the audience in and creates an even greater connection between story and reader. The singular perspective reflects the idea of isolation and creates an intimate bond between the reader and Holden by confining the audience with Holden’s thoughts and Holden’s alone.
Holden’s vicious cycle of pain is indicated by the use of Paradox throughout the novel. Holden uses loneliness to protect himself from losing more that he would love, however, deep down, all he truly wants is love and human contact. A majority of the novel describes his almost frantic pursuit of companionship as he flits from one meaningless encounter to



Cited: Kessler, D.. "The five stages of grief." The five stages of grief. www.grief.com, 2011. Web. 22 Jan 2012. . Salinger, J. D. The Catcher In The Rye. New York: Back Bay Books, 2001. Print.

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