The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye, by the author J.D. Salinger, is a story of a boy in the process of adolescence when the emergence of a teenager started to be distinct in around the 1950s. The main character, Holden Caulfield, deals with many things before and during when the story takes place. He was kicked out of three previous schools, and had just gotten kicked out of his current school, Pency Prep. He has also had lots of family problems including his parents not being supportive of him because he keeps getting kicked out of school, his brother D.B. “prostituting” himself in Hollywood, and his other brother, Allie, dying not too long ago. Throughout his journey, Holden descends into thoughts of suicide and ends up in a mental constitution to try and prevent any self-harm he may inflict on himself. He also got into a lot of trouble including an encounter with a prostitute in New York and getting beaten as a result, and several fights were also experienced.

The theme of youth is one of the very defiant topics in Salinger’s novel that is present throughout. The main idea of youth in the book is simply Holden. Whist he thinks that most adults and teenagers his age are all phonies, fake, or just bastards, he thinks that all children are all innocent little people that are full of kindness and are not fake at all. He says things against adults and things to defend against children throughout the whole book. For example, Holden explained this to the audience reading the book when he was talking to Mr Spencer about him leaving Pency, as well as his previous schools: “One of the biggest reasons I left Elkton Hills was because I was surrounded by phonies. That's all. They were coming in the goddam window.” . . . “I can't stand that stuff. It drives me crazy. It makes me so depressed I go crazy. I hated that goddam Elkton Hills.” This attitude towards adults is present continuously in the novel and really defines the type of person Holden is.

Youth

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Another theme that is riddled through the novel, is the deep thought of death. Death has nothing short of an impact on Holden, as Allie, his brother, died of Leukaemia in 1946, just a few years before when the story is set. Also, James Castle, a character in the story that Holden knows, jumped out of a window and committed suicide. Both of these incidents are deep in Holden’s mind towards the end of the story which then makes him think about committing suicide himself. This eventually leads Holden into ending up in a mental hospital. After explaining that Allie died, Holden then says: “I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalysed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don't blame them. I really don't. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it.” . . . “It was a very stupid thing to do, I'll admit, but I hardly didn't even know I was doing it, and you didn't know Allie.”

Death

The theme of youth is one of the very defiant topics in Salinger’s novel that is present throughout. The main idea of youth in the book is simply Holden. Whist he thinks that most adults and teenagers his age are all phonies, fake, or just bastards, he thinks that all children are all innocent little people that are full of kindness and are not fake at all. He says things against adults and things to defend against children throughout the whole book. For example, Holden explained this to the audience reading the book when he was talking to Mr Spencer about him leaving Pency, as well as his previous schools: “One of the biggest reasons I left Elkton Hills was because I was surrounded by phonies. That's all. They were coming in the goddam window.” . . . “I can't stand that stuff. It drives me crazy. It makes me so depressed I go crazy. I hated that goddam Elkton Hills.” This attitude towards adults is present continuously in the novel and really defines the type of person Holden is.

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