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Catcher in the Rye Symbols and Themes

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Elizabeth Kirkhorn

on 21 May 2014

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Transcript of Catcher in the Rye Symbols and Themes

Quotes Relating to Innocence vs. Experience
This theme manifests itself in:

-Holden's view of the "phony" adult world

-Holden's general criticism of everything around him

-Holden's view of characters such as Stradlater, Mr. Spencer, Sunny, and Maurice

-Holden's relationship with Jane

-Holden's goal of being "the Catcher in the Rye"
The Theme of Innocence vs. Experience
-The theme of innocence vs. experience, as
conveyed through the symbol of "the catcher
in the rye" impacts the text by acting as
Holden's main motivation for all actions.
-Salinger employs this symbol as it pertains
to this theme in order to show readers the
contrast between the innocence of children
and the "phoniness" of adults once innocence is lost.
-By titling the novel after "The Catcher in the
Rye," Salinger highlights this symbol and the underlying themes associated with it as the primary driver for this novel. "Innocence vs. Experience" is the theme most directly linked
to this classic story due to the way is concretized in Holden's inner opinions, his relationship with other characters, and chiefly, the metaphor of Holden's goal to be "the catcher in the rye."
Thank you!
How the "Catcher in the Rye" relates to this theme
"The Catcher in the Rye" as it relates to Innocence vs. Experience
Catcher in the Rye Themes
Quote 3: "I left Elkton Hills...because I was surrounded by phonies...they had this headmaster, Mr. Haas, that was the phoniest bastard I'd ever met in my life...[with our parents], he'd be charming as hell and all...except if some boy had little old funny looking parents...Haas would just shake hands with them, give them a phony smile, and then go talk, for maybe a half an hour with somebody else's parents."
(Salinger, 1945, p. 13, 14)

Quotes 4: "[Sunny] didn't care what the hell my name was.
'Hey, how old are you anyway?'
'Me? 22?'
'Like fun you are.'
It was a funny thing to say...you'd think a prostitute and all would say 'like hell you are,' or 'cut the crap' instead of 'like fun you are.'"
(Salinger, 1945, p. 94)
Quote 1: "I'm thinking now of when Stradlater got back
from his date with Jane...I was damn worried. If you knew Stradlater, you'd be worried too. I'd double dated with that bastard a couple times, and I know what I'm talking about. He was unscrupulous. He really was."
(Salinger, 1945, p. 40)

Quote 2: "I really got to know [Jane] quite intimately. I don't mean it was anything physical or anything--it wasn't--but we saw each other all the time...I held hands with her all the time."
(Salinger, 1945, p. 76, 79)
Quote about "The Catcher
in the Rye"
The Catcher in the Rye
exemplifies innocence vs.
experience by:

-embodying Holden's
innocent, childlike
morals that he has held
on to

-illustrating the goals
Holden has for future
generations as he strives
to protect their innocence against experience
"'I thought [the poem] said 'if a body catch a
body,'' I said. 'Anyway, I keep picturing all
these little kids playing some game in
this big field of rye and all. Thousands of
little kids, nobody [big] around except me.
And I'm standing at the edge of
some crazy cliff. What I have to do is catch
everybody if they start to go over the cliff."
(Salinger, 1945, p. 173)
Prezi by Elizabeth Kirkhorn
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