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Final Book Project: The Catcher in the Rye
Transcript of Final Book Project: The Catcher in the Rye
Little, Brown and Company, 1951. Date of Authorship and Era Jerome David Salinger published The Catcher in the Rye is 1951.
He worked ten years on the novel. It has never gone out of print.
JD Salinger wrote The Catcher in the Rye after World War II. Genre The genre of The Catcher and the Rye novel is Bildungsroman (coming-of-age). Setting The setting of The Catcher and the Rye begins in Percey Preparatory School in Pennsylvania.
Then the setting shifts to New York City.
The era of the novel is post World War II. It takes place in the late 40's to the early 50's. New York City Skyline, 1941 Important characters Holden caulfield Phoebe Caulfield The main character as well as the narrator in the novel. The whole novel centers on his point of view and it is written in first person. Holden, a heavy smoker and drinker, is a seventeen-year-old rebel dealing with the eccentric time between boyhood and manhood.
He describes himself as “six foot two and [I] have gray hair” (Salinger, 9) and “pretty healthy” (Salinger, 5).
Holden’s physical appearance of an adult allows him to purchase cigarettes and liquor. He, like most rebellious teenagers, enjoys the rush of breaking the rules. One nasty habit that Holden has is his judgmental cynicism. He hates “phonies,” yet ironically, he acts exactly like one.
Although Holden is the main character of the novel, he is not the hero. He is the complete opposite, an antihero. He doesn’t possess the characteristics or qualities of a hero. However, he desires to be a “catcher in the rye,” a protector to all children. Is Holden’s ten-year-old sister. Even though she is ten, Phoebe serves as a guide and a true friend of Holden. She is described by Holden as “very good in all her subjects” (Salinger, 160), “snotty and witty” (Salinger, 167), and “always listen[ing]” (Salinger, 167). Although she is his younger sister, Phoebe understands that her brother is having trouble leaving childhood behind. She helps Holden learn a valuable lesson, when she is riding the carousel in the park, that all children must face the ultimate reality of growing up and becoming an adult. They must do this transition alone. Significant rhetorical/ stylistic patterns JD Salinger uses many literary devices throughout his novel, The Catcher and the Rye.
Allusion: In The Catcher in the Rye, there are many allusions to other literature and historical events.
“[I’m in a play called] ‘A Christmas Pageant for Americans.’ It stinks, but I’m Benedict Arnold. I have practically the largest part” (Salinger, 162). Phoebe Caulfield tells this to her brother, Holden. Phoebe’s personality is witty and childish. The allusion to Benedict Arnold, a general in the revolution era, presents a sort of betrayal of one’s people. This allusion foreshadows Phoebe’s betrayal of her parents to run away with Holden.
“[T]he guy I like best in the Bible, next to Jesus, was that lunatic and all, that lived in the tombs and kept cutting himself with stones” (Salinger, 99). This is a biblical allusion. In the Bible, in Mark 5:1-20, a madman who is possessed by demons and “doing harm to himself by gashing himself with stones” (Holy Bible). Holden is speaking of a man who lived isolated from society and thus became demented. This foreshadows Holden’s future if he continues alienating himself.
“’If a body meet a body coming through the rye.’ It’s a poem by Robert Burns. I thought it was ‘If a body catch a body coming through the rye.’ I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do is catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all” (Salinger, 173). This quote is the most significant allusion to the story, consequently being the title. The allusion to the poem/song first appears when Holden hears a little boy singing it and falls in love with the piece. His sister, Phoebe, knows the poem and listens to Holden’s desire to become “The Catcher in the Rye,” saving the children from the cliff. The cliff represents the transition between childhood to adulthood. Holden wants to “catch” the children and keep them as cherubs Symbolism
There are many symbols throughout the novel.
Red Hunting Hat
“I put on this hat that I bought that morning. It was this red hunting hat. I looked good in it” (Salinger, 18). This is the first appearance of the hat.
As the story progresses, a pattern appears with the hat. Holden only wears it in important circumstances or when he is around people he doesn’t know. The hat itself is unique and gives a sort of protective shield around Holden when he wears it. "I'd already taken off my hunting hat, so as not to look suspicious" (Salinger, 158). Without the hat, he is ordinary. Like a “phony.”
When Phoebe takes the hat from him, she is taking is insecurity away and forcing him to fit in with people.
The Carousel (Gold Ring)
“The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them” (Salinger, 211). This symbol represents the carefree spirits of childhood. The circular motion represents that children must go around in a few circles before reaching the gold ring. The reaching for gold ring, even though it may be harmful, meant the rider could have a free ride. However, not everyone can reach it. The reaching of the gold ring represents the reaching of ending childhood and entering adulthood.
“My brother Allie had this left-handed fielder’s mitt. The thing descriptive about it, though, was that he had poems written all over the fingers and the pocket and everywhere. In green ink. He’s dead now. He got leukemia and died” (Salinger, 38). From Holden’s descriptions of Allie, it can be concluded that Holden deeply loved his brother. Allie’s death plays a huge impact on Holden, often depressing him. Allie represents childhood innocence. The mitt is a reminder of Allie. Stylistic patterns: JD Salinger uses a unique narration for Holden. It is called “stream of consciousness.” It reveals a person’s conscious thoughts and actions. It is not in a specific order or structure. Holden speaks his thoughts, and feelings. He doesn’t give specific detail and his “stream” is periodically disrupted by dialogue between him and other characters. This style of writing is used purposely by Salinger to portray Holden’s self-discipline mind, rebellious attitude, and childish thoughts.
"I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible." (Salinger, 16). In this excerpt, Holden is not speaking to anyone in the story, just the reader. Salinger makes Holden speak in a natural flow of consciousness. Plot Summary The Catcher in the Rye tells the bildungsroman story of Holden Caulfield, a rebellious teenager living in the Northeast coast in the late 1940’s, is dealing with his expulsion from school, death of his younger brother, his self-destructive attitude, and the “phonies” of the adult world.
Holden must break through the barrier between childhood and adulthood, and after listening to the famous poem “Comin’ thro’ the Rye”, he wants to become his foil: the Catcher in the Rye, and save the innocence of the children. Themes Going through bildungsromanism can be misgiving.
One must leave his home in order to understand the perplexity of the world.
One cannot benefit from alienation. Even if used as protection. Universal Quotes “How do you know what you’re going to do till you do it? The answer is, you don’t”. –Holden Caulfield (Salinger, 213)
"Life is a game that one plays it according to the rules." – Mr. Spencer (Salinger, 8)
"Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell." –Holden Caulfield (Salinger, 113) THE END Phoebe and Holden