Catcher In The Rye Existentialism Analysis

Topics: The Catcher in the Rye, Last Day of the Last Furlough, I'm Crazy Pages: 7 (1627 words) Published: May 30, 2016

The Guardian of the Children
World War II had ended for America and instead of trying to come together as a nation some felt the need to exist as individuals. The Existentialist evolution arrived from Europe during the 1950’s. Existentialism came along in the United States at the same time segregation in schools was ruled unconstitutional, the Korean War had begun, and the Warsaw Pact had been signed. Existentialism was a time in America where some people emphasized the existence of everyone as a responsible and free individual. Existentialist believed that their development was based off their acts of will. Everything in life was subjective to Existentialist, there were no objective truths. Some of these existentialist aspects are witnessed throughout J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, an existentialist novel that pursues a teen named Holden Caulfield who has recently flunked out of his school, Pencey Prep. Holden is meandering around New York City trying to figure out what to do with his life. The story is self narrated through Holden's...

The freedom that Holden had was great so he could figure out what his goals were, but the lack of structure lead to some mistakes and a lot of wasted time. In today's society, many students take a gap year before they go off to college, which is said to “offer valuable personal freedom. Young people are able to figure out who they are and what inspires them” (Patterson 2). This year gives these students time to determine what they actually want to do in life. This also gives them absolute responsibility over their future and education because they gain the experience to know what they want. This is exactly what Holden needed, a structured way to take full responsibility over his life and decide what his meaning in life...
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