Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J.D. Salinger
Text type: Extended written text – novel
In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, I found the idea of self-isolation from human relationships that was portrayed through the protagonist Holden Caulfield very interesting. While over the course of the novel, which is set into a timeframe of three days, Holden interacts with many others, we see that he does not have a close relationship with any of these people other than his sister, Phoebe. This self-imposed isolation from any close human relationships is to protect himself from becoming a ‘phony’, which is what he labels those that he believes are fake and shallow. By isolating himself, he feels that he is protected from becoming this stereotype, and this is a source of strength to him however it also can also create problems for him. While his solitude drives him to get in contact and go on a date with Sally Hayes, his drive to be alienated eventually leads him to being rude and offensive towards her, with him saying she gave him “a royal pain in the ass”. In addition, we are shown that his isolation is leading him to have crazed, delusional moments, admitting to himself that “I swear to God I’m a madman” and insisting that, although Sally kept asking him to speak quieter, he “wasn’t even screaming at her”. In the television series Sherlock, the main character Sherlock Holmes is in a similar situation to that of Holden. At the beginning of the series, in the episode ‘A Study in Pink’, we see that Sherlock does not have any close human relationships as he feels that the he has a superior intelligence to most people, and therefore is above them. This leaves him leading a secluded lifestyle similar to that of Holden’s, showing us that this theme of isolation from human relationships is also apparent in other pieces of literature.
I also found the strong symbolism of Holden’s red hunting hat to be particularly effective. The hat is a...
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