The Catcher in the Rye Relative to the 1950's Essay

2201 Words Jul 14th, 2001 9 Pages
The Catcher in the Rye Relative to the 1950's

The Catcher in the Rye can be strongly considered as one of the
greatest novels of all time and Holden Caufield distinguishes himself as one
of the greatest and most diverse characters. His moral system and his sense of
justice force him to detect horrifying flaws in the society in which he lives.
However, this is not his principle difficulty. His principle difficulty is not that
he is a rebel, or a coward, nor that he hates society, it is that he has had many
experiences and he remembers everything.
Salinger indicates this through Holden's confusion of time throughout
the novel. Experiences at Whooten, Pency, and Elkton Hills combine and no
levels of time separate them. This
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I mean if they're running and they don't look we're they're going I
have to come out from somewhere and catch them." That's all I have to do all
day. I'd just be the Catcher in the Rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the
only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy(Salinger 173).
Holden exhibits the madness described before at often times
throughout the book and in the end it ends up sending him to a sanitarium. He
knows he has become mad and he even tells himself this many times in the
book; but he never really believes it. One time in the book when he displays
this madness is,

Wadsworth 4.

"But I'm crazy I swear to God I am. About halfway to the bathroom, I
started pretending I had a bullet in my guts. Old Maurice had plugged me.
Now I was on the way to the bathroom to get a good shot of bourbon. I
pictured myself with my automatic in my pocket, and staggering a little bit. I'd
walk down a couple of floors-holding on to my guts, blood leaking all over
the place. As soon as old Maurice opened the doors he'd start screaming at
me. But I'd plug him anyway"(Salinger 103-4).
This explains the psychotically disturbing actions Holden takes in this
novel. Holden becomes obsessed with death and dying, and several times in
the book he wishes he was dead. "Again, Holden can't stay away from the
subject of the death of family members and the decay of the corpse. Even
when he later goes to the Museum of…