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Setting And Chracterization In The "Catcher In The Rye"

1063 words - 4 pages

Jerome David Salinger was born January 1, 1919 in New York City. At age 11, he was voted "most popular actor" at Camp Wigwam in Harrison, Maine. Salinger's parents decided to offer him the opportunity to be enrolled into a private school, just like his character, Holden Caulfield. Before and even after J.D. Salinger was famous for his works, they were both sort of social outcasts (Pinsker xiii). He " was not working for a degree, didn't care about course credit, and was considered a loner" (Hamilton 43). His molded personality of his past became a part of his writing; the style is the one Salinger is most noted for, where "J.D. Salinger pits his characters against a world that insists that they compromise, learn to adjust, or simply "grow up"" (Pinsker xiii). The Catcher in the Rye was banned from many school reading lists due to uncivilized behavior, poor role modeling, and a variety of expletives. Through the use of characterization, morality, and setting, J.D. Salinger constructs one of the most well known American classics of our time. In "The Catcher in the Rye", he deals with issues such as the loss of innocence and moral dilemmas that one must face when growing up.Holden is a very strange and peculiar character. He has an odd personality in many different senses. He is rather confrontational, but he never stands behind himself. Although the character Holden Caulfield was acclaimed as "one of the most well-rounded and affecting views of a 16-year old" (Pinsker 16), he is skinny, weak, he smokes, drinks, lies, cusses, and he has some very crude humor. This makes Holden a very realistic character, and makes his journey into adulthood seem more authentic. He doesn't hold back, and when he feels the need, he goes about "speaking his own mind, without undue embarrassment or extended apology" (Pinsker 10). Holden is a rebel, and for the same reason he is a loner. "Holden is the comic version of this transcendental energy run amuck in the conformist 1950's" (Pinsker 11). He often puts himself into awkward situations while he could be doing something more productive. Through his own personal trials, Holden learns very quickly what it is like to be out in the real world for a few days. He must quickly go through the transition of his adolescence and quickly become an adult. He is "the emblem of the decades spiritual restlessness and capacity for rebellion" (Pinsker 8). When Holden leaves, and without the prep school offering him everything he needs, he is left to fend for himself.Although Holden lacks certain character traits that allow him to completely fit in with society, he is truly a quite moral person. He is very capable of understanding what is right, what is wrong, and the consequences of the decisions he makes. "Far from being an immoral character as many critics contend, Holden is too moral for the world which most adults have learned to accommodate" (Pinsker 12). Unlike a child who is free from all worries, Holden "is now...

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