"The Catcher In The Rye" By Salinger. The First Novels Written With Young Adults In Mind

1397 words - 6 pages

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, is one of the first novels written with young adults in mind, though it is a classic within mature reading circles. It is written in first-person format, with the main character, sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield, telling the story.Holden is definitely the protagonist in this novel. His main goal is to attain an acceptance of both himself and society as a whole, while in turn protecting and maintaining a sense of innocence in those who are special and close to him. He aspires to hold his beliefs in high regards, and is turned-off by anyone who doesn¹t see the world as he does: a very unkind, polluted, and boring place to live.Three people, besides Holden himself, who are or were in his life, come out as the strong antagonists. These people are Jane Gallagher, Allie Caulfield, and Phoebe Caulfield. There is a great deal of irony in this, being that these three people are the only characters in which Holden can truly relate to at one time or another. This also shows, with this conflict, that one of the antagonist is himself. The other three characters represent the underlying antagonistic theme of innocence, of which Holden is so desperately trying to hold on to in his life. Allie represents an infinite innocence, in being that he is deceased, and can never be changed. Jane shows us the example of someone who is no longer innocent, and though we never really see Jane in the novel, Salinger implicates her loss of innocence when she has the date with Ward Stradlater, and things are not as irreproachable as they may appear. Phoebe represents a changing or loss of virtuousness, which is exactly what Holden is fighting against.The first point at which Holden first comes into conflict with the protagonist, being innocence and change, is on page two, first paragraph, which begins with Holden telling us of how he is leaving Pencey Prep School in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. This is a personal loss of purity and change within Holden, and this causes the start of the complications within.There are many moments within the novel where Holden comes into conflict with the idea of innocence. When he speaks to the two professors on separate occasions, he is trying to solve his confusion of change by looking to them for answers. Mr. Spencer does not offer much to Holden on this point, but later on in the novel, Mr. Antolini seems to shed some light into his state-of-being. Holden is turned-off by Mr. Antolini¹s "pass," or so it seemed to Holden. This is unfortunate in being that Holden could relate well with Mr. Antolini, and was coming closer to peace within, seeing how he finally found an adult who he could talk with. There are many other moments of conflict, and these include every encounter that Holden has, from the cab drivers, to the prostitute, to the afternoon he spent with Sally. In almost every instance, Holden is looking for someone to connect with, and time and time again, once he finds a fault within...

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