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Analysis Of The Catcher In The Rye By J. D. Salinger

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A lost sixteen year old boy deals with death and trying to find his place in the world. Despite growing up in a privileged white household, Holden Caulfield is still crippled with feeling invisible. In Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, he makes Holden come to life by creating a personality that is easily relatable to rebellious teenage boys. And though this work caused much controversy, Salinger was able to capture the struggles of not wanting to grow up and the preservation of innocence. In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D Salinger creates a character that reflects his own difficulties growing up in a privileged white household in the 1950s while struggling with the the difficult realities of the adult world and finding his place in the it.…show more content…
The Catcher in the Rye was originally published in 1951 (Hunt-Steinle 129). It was a very controversial book in the 1950s and was called “a potentially dangerous, even seditious book.” The main character is named Holden Caulfield, and he definitely was not the kind of role model that parents wanted for their young boys (Lundquist 54). Salinger created Holden as a relatable, adolescent young man “growing up in pain” (Hunt 131). He is trying to navigate his way through the world as a lost, sixteen year old boy who wants to remain a child forever, while dealing with the loss of his younger brother Allie. Holden is terrified of growing up and disappearing into the adult word because passing time is what took his brother away. His dream in life is to be the “catcher” and help lost kids like him navigate through life when parents are absent. However “he cannot remain a child -he can not stand at the edge of the cliff and be the catcher; he must fall off into adulthood” (Lundquist 46). Holden eventually must grow up and face the harsh realities of the adult world. The Catcher in the Rye also challenged many parents’ views on conformity and normality. Holden is characterized as a lost and rebellious teenager trying to make it through adolescence. He is wise, but at the same time reckless. He gets kicked out of schools because of poor academic standing and runs…show more content…
It’s so phony” (Salinger 115). Holden is different from most teenage boys, he is overwhelmed with the feelings of loss when he does not even know who he is yet. At one point, Holden feels like he is disappearing into the adult world. To guarantee his place in the it, Holden calls out to Allie “don’t let me disappear. Please Allie” (Salinger 213). His fear of conformity is another reason why this book was so controversial. Parents felt threatened by Salinger’s views on a non conformist society and contradicted their beliefs (Weinstein 125). People did not want to listen to Salinger’s views on society, because he threatened the new, stable, 1950’s American society. In the meantime, teenagers during this time were becoming more rebellious and defiant. Holden exemplified the kid that parents did not want their child to turn into or the kid that they did not want their child hanging with. He is described to be a “troubled teen trying to work his way through adolescence in a world peopled by phonies” (Kahane). The phonies of the world are those people who surrendered their individuality to conform to society’s definition of normal. Holden’s rebellious nature is a result of defying the social norms and pressures of his time. He is thought to be a dangerous thinker who would endanger the new America. And because of his beliefs, he feels he is
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