Catcher In The Rye

Good Essays

When writing a summary for any class, one is often told to remember the five W’s. Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Each question plays an important role in the summary, for parts of the story would be lost without all of them. However, the first four are rather easy to evaluate while the ‘Why’ is the question which possesses the most difficulty. It is fairly simple to analyze cosmetic aspects as it is something one only needs to observe. On the other hand, the ‘Why’ requires inquiry and development which is something that many either avoid, or are unable to do- especially when analyzing the actions of one’s self. This evaluation can cause one to be more self reflective, as well as understanding of those around you, simply by focusing on why …show more content…

One of the best examples of this lies in Holden's encounter with three girls in a night club. Holden, too young to be at the club, pursues three older women because he "Really felt like dancing." (70) (which can be another example of a superficial explanation to avoid admitting how much he needed companionship), and is quickly laughed at by the trio. Salinger writes, "I sort of leaned over and said, 'Would any of you girls care to dance?' I didn't ask them crudely or anything. Very suave, in fact. But God damn it, they thought that was a panic, too. They started giggling some more. I'm not kidding, they were three real morons." (70). This quote shows Holden's inability to analyze his own faults. After being laughed at twice, he continues to blame a giggling reaction on the girls' stupidity, rather than realizing that they noticed how young he was and showed disinterest. Regardless of this he continues to think he looks older than he does, and insists on dancing because ‘he really wanted to’, rather than realizing why he wanted to, or showing any understanding of these girls for that matter. Holden’s actions here hold true to Arthur Miller’s Tragedy and the Common Man due to the quote from the passage which reads “Tragedy, then, is the consequence of a man's total compulsion to evaluate himself justly.”(Paragraph 5). Holden’s ‘just evaluation’ is a lack of evaluation. His tragedy is presented through the complete lack of evaluation which makes the tragedy far darker. Rather than painting himself in a justified light, Holden doesn’t paint himself at all which not only makes his flaw clearer, but also makes him seem less of a hero. For example, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, young king Hamlet is one of the most alluded to tragic heros of literature, and it was clear that he was a hero because he stood up for something and justified his actions

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