The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

1005 Words5 Pages
Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J.D. Salinger’s classic coming of age tale The Catcher in the Rye, entices readers through his hyper-critical scrutinization of the post-war consumer world. The novel itself is acclaimed to be quite autobiographical; the similarities between Salinger and Holden are numerous. Holden is an avid critic of materialistic American ideals, and he aims to preserve innocence in others, and to save himself from falling into the land of adulthood. After failing out of prep school, Holden retires to the streets of New York City, searching for the little purity he has left. Through Holden’s manic and depressive moods, his language, and his relationship with his sister, Holden’s desire to escape the “phoniness”…show more content…
Costello states, “…Holden uses theses phrases to such an overpowering degree that they become a clear part of the flavor of the book; they become, more, a part of Holden himself…” (Costello 33). A major phrase which Holden uses is “It really is” or “It really did”. These affirmative phrases demonstrate how Holden longs to fortify his honesty and avoid slipping into the world of “phonies”. In addition, Holden’s diction is identifiable at a mature level and at a young level. For example, Holden makes use of vocabulary such as “suspicious” and “terrific”, yet he abuses basic grammar through the use of misplacing adjectives as nouns and using double negatives. Therefore, Holden’s language mirrors his division between childhood and adulthood. In addition to Holden’s moods and his language, his relationships also aid in delineating his character. Holden’s most valued relationship is the one he shares with his younger sister, Phoebe. To Holden, Phoebe is the one person whom he can truly trust, and he feels best when he is with her. A monumental reason for Holden’s appreciation for Phoebe is that she has emotionally replaced Holden’s deceased brother, Allie, who passed away at a young age. Holden loves his sister so greatly because of her youth, and he does not want to see her enter the world of adulthood. However, Holden realizes that he cannot preserve Phoebe’s innocence when he takes her to ride the carousel at the zoo. Holden says,
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