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"The Catcher In The Rye" By J. D. Salinger

1542 words - 6 pages

The Catcher in the Rye When many scholars discuss the catcher in the rye sever main themes are always present in their discussion. These repeating themes are highly evolved and may even have been over evaluated. Also with each theme several variations of how the theme is developed are in addition presented. One of these themes is the way Holden considers much of the world and the people in it "phony". This word "phony" is used many times in the novel to describe how Holden sees others. This is relevant because Holden himself is more "phony" than anyone he meets and is always contradicting himself. The second major theme is how Holden's persona is created through other characters interactions with Holden. While Holden is a very different child he is also a very complex one. The way his views have been obscured by those around him has led Holden to believe that he is the only truth and that there are very few "nice" people in this world. Many people have analyzed Holden's ideas and have taken his word as what is real and they do not understand that Holden has an obscured vision of the surrounding world, this blinds them from seeing "Holden's grave deficiencies as a person."(Edwards, 1977) While Holden is a very likeable character, which many people can at some point in the novel relate to, he is a deeply depressed youth who lives vicariously through those around him. This is because he represses the truth which keeps him from having a true self image. (Edwards, 1977) This ultimately leads many to think Holden cannot accurately describe his story and his own pitfalls, which he never admits to. Holden never assumes responsibility for himself even though he has led himself to believe his life task is to protect the innocent. This is obvious in the first few pages of the novel when he leaves the fencing equipment on the subway, quick to respond that it was not all his fault. (3) The constant idea that Holden is going to remain in eternal adolescence is presented at the end of the novel when he tells the reader to "Don't ever tell anybody anything."(214) Clearly Holden's knowledge of movies is much clearer than even he perceives. While always degrading the cinema, even going as far as to call his brother (a Hollywood screenwriter) "a prostitute," several times he makes the trip to the theater. This shows the reader that Holden still does not have an accurate grasp on the things that make him happy or the things that he likes. This is again depicted when Phoebe asks Holden to name something that he likes. He is unable to do so and changes the subject by talking about two nuns he will never see again. His inability to concentrate on the world around him allows the reader to jump to the conclusion that Holden may suffer from a mental illness, since the entire novel is a recollection as told by Holden in a mental institute. Another element that haunts Holden's phoniness is he sexual attraction toward women but cannot make...

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