The First Person Narrator in J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye

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In J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the first person narration played a critical role in helping the reader to know and understand the main character, Holden Caulfield. Salinger also uses symbolism to help portray the theme that not everything that glitters is gold. Holden, in his narration, relates a flashback of a significant period of his life, three days and nights on his own in New York City. Through his narration, Holden discloses to the reader his innermost thoughts and also helps to introduce the reader to many of the symbols strategically placed throughout the novel. He thus provides the reader with not only information of what occurred, but also how he felt about what happened. In the Catcher in the Rye, Holden views the …show more content…
The three days we learn of in the novel find a lost and distressed Holden in the Manhattan area of New York City. We find Holden surrounded by the lights and splendor of the holidays in the big city but, much to Holden’s despair he is still unable to find even a moments peace in the city surrounded by the drunks, perverts, morons and screwballs. Holden’s strange convictions towards the world and everyone in it never wavered except during his encounter with Mr. Antolini. After first suspecting Mr. Antolini of being a pervert for patting him on the head while he slept Holden gave it a second thought and begin to think that maybe he just liked patting guys on the head while they slept. This still doesn’t constitute a big change in Holden though because while he agrees it’s a nice change he doesn’t believe it will last very long at all. “It’s not too bad when the sun’s out, but the sun only comes out when it feels like coming out” Salinger, J. D. Catcher in the rye. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991.it is clear that Holden was using the sun to relate to the goodness and decency in the world and his apparent thoughts that the world was still a very evil and immoral place. What does change in Holden during the course of the book is his idea that he can somehow change the world and help it to move out of its corrupt state. Holden is also moved to the eventual realization that not only can he not change the world but he is also unable to hide
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