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The Journey Of A Life Time Eng3 U

2372 words - 10 pages

All books are written with a purpose. They all have a meaning but with out a well known literary archetype the theme of the book can be lost in translation. With a well chosen archetype a book can convey the theme properly. This is exactly what J. D. Salinger did in the timeless classic The Catcher in the Rye, From the beginning to end of The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger used the three parts of the literary archetype of the monomyth by dividing the entire book in to three defined sections. All three of the sections are clearly labeled by the events that transgress through out the book. The three sections are: the departure, the initiation, and the return. All three contain different challenges for Holden, the confused protagonist who is trying to discover who he is and where he belongs in the world. Holden travels from Pencey prep, the school he was kicked out of because of lack of application to his studies, to find himself lost in New York city wondering what he is going to do when he must wait to be mentally ready to return home. When in traveling in the realm between school and going home Holden learns that the transition between being a child and becoming an adult is not seamless and is much harder than originally thought. Holden learns that adolescence is much like the monomyth literary archetype, it is filled with trials and tribulations to help him go home with a greater understanding of both adulthood and childhood. The first lesson that Holden must learn is that where he thinks he should be may not be the right place for him, but learning this is a very difficult task.
In attendance at Pencey Prep Holden does not feel that he belongs, that, "[he] didn't know anybody there that was splendid and clear-thinking and all" (Salinger, 2). Holden only has one reason to stay at Pencey, Mr. Spencer. Mr. Spencer was the only teacher that still believed that Holden could succeed, but now that Holden must leave Pencey Prep he is forced to visit Mr. Spencer's home to say his goodbyes only to learn that even he and Mr.Spencer are not very alike. Upon arriving at Mr. Spencer's home Holden is already repulsed by Mr. Spencer's physical appearance, Holden even goes as far as to say, "Old Spencer had on this very sad, ratty old bathrobe that be was probably born in or something.. [his] bumpy old chess showing chest showing" (7). even before talking with Mr. Spencer Holden is complaining about anything he can concerning Mr. Spencer. After only spending one semester at Pencey prep Holden believes that he has learned all he can from Mr. Spencer, since Holden feels that he and Mr. Spencer's beliefs juxtapose each other too strongly. Holden expands upon this though when he says, "He really was too. You could see that. But it was just that we were on opposite sides of the pole, that's all" (14-15). Holden understands that he and his only remaining friend at Pencey prep are no longer compatible. With the loss of Mr. Spencer's guidance Holden understands...

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