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Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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Alyssa Kretz

on 3 May 2011

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Transcript of Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger The Author: Born in New York City on New Year's Day 1919
Attended Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, PA Later went to New York Univeristy but dropped out to work on a cruise ship Debut story "The Young Folks" published in Story Magazine in 1939 Drafted into the army during WWII
Wrote many short stories for The New Yorker following the war Published "The Catcher in the Rye" in 1951
Shortly after, he decided to isolate himself and escape from the public eye Married twice and had two children Last work, "Hapworth 16, 1924", published in 1965 Lived a very secretive, secluded life
Died at age 91 on January 27, 2010, in his Cornish, New Hampshire home Summary: Told from the point of view of Holden Caulfield Recently expelled from boarding school before his scheduled return home for Christmas break Goes to Manhattan for three days and doesn't tell his parents what happened Recounts his adventures in New York, involving women, clubs, and alcohol Holden returns home to see his sister and we see a new, soft side of him He hints that he becomes "sick" soon afterward and is undergoing treatment at a mental institution, but is attending a new school in the fall Major Historical Event: People started to become rich and prosperous. Looked to new beginnings to forget the past
Lived in a world full of materialism and blissful denial This is the shallow-minded society surrounding Holden that Salinger portrays in "The Catcher in the Rye". World War II and a Post-World War II Society Salinger had a different experience and viewpoint. Had experienced the disasters of WWII firsthand These expereiences combined with the overall sense of disillusionment in America contributed to Holden's cynical opinions about adult society, which he does not trust. Major Literary Movement: Postmodern Period Characteristics: 1) Blurring the lines of reality Story is told from the point of view of the main character, who not only exaggerates and has extremely strong opinions, but is also currently in a mental institution Makes it diffucult for reader to distinguish between reality and fiction/what's in Holden's head 2) Written as a narrative It is told in chronological order from the point of view of the main character with clear problems, solutions, and climaxes. 3) Humorless Not an overall funny novel Digs deep into human psyche, but uses little humor Critical Analysis: Theme: The heartaches involved in growing up and finding one's own place in society Holden attempts to find his place in a world full of "phonies" As individuals grow up, they see more corruption in the world. 1) "It's full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddam Cadillac some day, and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses, and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day, and everybody sticks together in these dirty little goddam cliques (Salinger 170)." Holden has started to notice the corruption and phoniness on which many of his peers rely
He also harbors beliefs that the adult world is full of nothing but corruption and phoniness as well, leading him to mistrust society as a whole 2) "I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all (Salinger224-225)." Holden dreams of being the catcher in the rye and helping small children who are running through fields of rye by catching them before they fall off the edge Children represent innocence
"Falling off the cliff" represents the demise into the corruption of adult life, which Holden so despises 3) "At the end of the first act we went out with all the other jerks for a cigarette. What a deal that was. You never saw so many phonies in all your life, everybody smoking their ears off and talking about the play so that everybody could hear and know how sharp they were. Some dopey movie actor was standing near us, having a cigarette. […] He was with some gorgeous blonde, and the two of them were trying to be very blasé and all, like as if he didn't even know people were looking at him. Modest as hell. I got a big bang out of it (Salinger 164-165)." Again, Holden talks about the "phoniness" of some people he has met
He seems to think the same thing about everybody he speaks of throughout the novel This shows Holden's heartache in discovering the corruption that takes over for innocence as one grows older Holden shows us that as individuals grow up, they see more corruption in the world. In turn, as society progresses and gets more corrupt, its members move further away from the American Dream. The loss of the American Dream to corruption of society is represented in "The Catcher in the Rye" through Holden's experiences in growing up and noticing individuals' corruption. Works Cited: " elements of PostModernism in The Catcher in the Rye." Rate My Paper - Share your essays, school papers, short stories, poetry, and get ratings and feedback. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 May 2011. <http://www.ratemypaper.net/?p=90>.

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