The Catcher In The Rye By Jd Salinger

896 words - 4 pages

The significance of the first and last chapters of The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger is apparent because they introduce Holden Caulfield and the way he thinks, and end the book with evidence of Holden’s psychosis. The first chapter establishes the perimeters of Holden’s personality. From the first sentence, the reader is bombarded with Holden’s angry, pessimistic thoughts and view on life, as well as introduced to Holden’s psychological problems. The last chapter is significant because it ends the book, giving proof of Holden’s psychotic break with very subtle hints.The first chapter of The Catcher in the Rye is significant because it introduces the protagonist, lays the foundation of his thought process and views throughout the novel, and declares Holden’s psychological issues. The first chapter is the chapter of the novel which introduces Holden, the protagonist of the story, a sixteen year-old boy who moves from school to school, continuously kicked out. The story begins with teenage defiance, as Holden speaks of most people wanting to hear about his childhood and history, and all that “David Copperfield kind of crap” (Salinger, pg 1) but he defies the reader and does not speak of his history. This defiance is a part of Holden’s character, part of what makes him so uniquely interesting. Holden is not just a whiney teenage boy who is mad at the world, but actually a sadly jaded adolescent narrator. Holden sees the negative in everything, and barely comments on the positive things hesees. Holden’s psychological issues are introduced in the first chapter, when he says, “I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here to rest.” (Salinger, pg 1) It is both funny and ironic that Holden uses the word madman to describe the happenings at Christmastime, when he is actually the madman, and he says he had to rest, when really he was being hospitalized.. Holden’s tributes to his madness are minimal and he seems to avoid mentioning it.The way Holden thinks is crucial to the novel, and such a viewpoint is introduced in the first chapter. If Holden did not think so negatively and exude such pessimism toward life in general, the novel would be little more than a whiney teenager’s cry for attention. He does not care what others think of him and is rebellious toward all things popular, “The whole team ostracized me the whole way back on the train. It was pretty funny, in a way.” (Salinger, pg 3) Holden thinks people being angry at him is funny, and that is a little odd. Most teenagers like fitting in, but Holden...

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