The Catcher in the Rye

Topics: The Catcher in the Rye, Novel, Catcher Pages: 4 (2359 words) Published: May 16, 2014
ASSIGNMENT 02 – Topic: (a) The Catcher in the Rye
In the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, Holden hears a little boy singing, “If a body catch a body coming through the rye.” He responds, “It made me feel not so depressed any more” (Salinger, 2010:125). The poem which the novel’s title is derived from may be the conclusion of Holden’s greatest dream – to rescue Phoebe, all children and himself from being corrupted and from death; his longing to rescue Jane from Stradlater’s sexual harassment is also evident in the novel (Byrne, D., Kalua, F. & Scheepers, R, 2012:63-4). Holden pictures a field of rye on a huge cliff, full of children who are playing and having fun (SparkNotes, 2014). He says he would like to protect the children from falling off the edge of the cliff by “catching” them if they were on the verge of tumbling over. The novel has a theme of suicide which appears in every chapter (Byrne et al., 2012:57). It seems that Holden’s desire is to rescue people from losing their innocence as they mature and grow into adulthood – he also wants to protect them from all that is phoney in life (Byrne et al., 2012:62). The Catcher in the Rye is a coming-of-age novel in which Holden grows up as an inexperienced young boy into adulthood. He embarks on a journey of self-discovery as he tries to fit into society (Byrne et al., 2012:55). He wants desperately for his life to have purpose and he rebels against those with insincere motives. He is adamant that movies are completely detestable because they are fake (Byrne et al., 2012:57): “Now he’s out in Hollywood, D.B., being a prostitute. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the movies. Don’t even mention them to me.” (Salinger, 2010:2). He also comments, “They were exactly the same morons that laugh like hyenas in the movies at stuff that isn’t funny” (Salinger, 2010:91). There are many references to ‘phony’ movies in the novel – the irony is that Holden watches lots of movies himself (Byrne et al., 2012:56). He does not...

Bibliography: Byrne, D., Kalua, F. & Scheepers, R. 2012. Only study guide for ENG1501. Pretoria: University of South Africa.
English, H. 2014. “Helena English 332”.
[Accessed 9 April 2014]
Salinger, J.D. 2010. The Catcher in the Rye. England: Penguin Books Ltd.
SparkNotes. 2014. Available: [Accessed 10 April 2014]
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