The Catcher in the Rye Essay

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This paper proposes to delineate the characteristics of Holden Caulfield, the adolescent protagonist hero of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and illuminate the reasons as to why this prototype of brooding adolescence, displaying a rather uber-cool style of disaffection, disenchantment and disillusionment became an indispensable figure of interest, in literary circles as well as popular culture. The paper seeks to take issue with the wider dimensions attached to the ‘incapacitation and debilitation’ Holden is often accused of and address Salinger’s vision behind etching Caulfield precisely the way he is. The paper also wishes to foreground the socio-political implications that reverberate within the rubric of the novel, Holden’s…show more content…
The sales figures of the book evince the case of its popularity. Needless to point out, the immense popularity of The Catcher in the Rye can be attributed to Salinger’s ingenious creation- Holden Caulfield. Holden Caulfield is the primary reason of the novel’s sustained readership. Anyone even remotely familiar with the text can point out that the protagonist who uses ‘crazy’ verbatim and mentions the cognates of that word over fifty times, has been alleged to be a misanthropist, a human “who dislikes everything.” Christopher Parker contends, “Holden likes the only things really worth liking…because he is sincere and he won’t settle for less.” Several critics in the recent past have concurred with Parker’s line of thought. They have dismissed the initial response to the ‘incessant rant of Holden Caulfield” as adolescent babble as a misreading of the text, and instead placed the novel in its rightful place as a text that seriously engages in the exploration of the picaresque, an acute intensity of longing and yearning for the shared tenets of authenticity and innocence. While Holden’s choice of being the ‘catcher in the rye’ clearly depicts his yearning for a bygone era, the innocent experience, his choice is rooted at once in his fate of being both beloved and banned, as is that of his narrative The Catcher in the Rye, in its character of

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