Jerome David Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is a truly unique novel in terms of writing style. The story is told in a second person narrative style by a character named Holden Caulfield, and is written loosely in a fashion known as 'stream of consciousness writing'.
The stream of consciousness style of writing is that in which the writing directly follows the character's thought process in either an interior monologue or through the character's reactions to external occurrences. Stream of consciousness writing is not typically used in books due to its clearly-defined limits and its extreme demand for a talented and devoted author. In order for the writing to be effective, the story m ...view middle of the document...
In another example of Salinger?s ingenious arrangement of thoughts, Holden?s own hypocrisy is shown by juxtaposing the inconsideration of Ackley with Holden?s own inconsideration.
Another literary device used by Salinger that is seen in nearly no earlier works is one of rhythm and emphasis. Salinger shows his attentiveness toward the rhythms of speech by using italics quite frequently in order to let the reader know when a character is placing emphasis on a word, or even on just a syllable, in dialogue. The emphasis of a single syllable shows a realism to the dialogue of The Catcher in the Rye rarely seen not only in the works of Salinger?s time, but also before and after it. Salinger?s emphasis on the rhythm of speech is mirrored in his emphasis on the rhythm of thought, which, in turn, emphasizes the importance of both. Salinger uses paragraph breaks not only to change from one subject to another, but also to accentuate certain thoughts. In another demonstration of his literary brilliance, Salinger shows that he knows the human mind by using shorter paragraphs for more important matters. Shorter paragraphs automatically and subconsciously gain more importance in the mind than longer paragraphs. When one skims a written work, shorter paragraphs always tend to be read more thoroughly than longer ones. That is when this idea becomes apparent.
Salinger has created a character so real, so raw, and so relatable that it is has been seen as just too much for many people and many schools. Holden Caulfield?s obscene language, opulent cynicism, and excessive profanity prove his disregard for the approval of his social class. Salinger created Holden as a teenager brought up in the lap of luxury, but he also created him to despise his surroundings.
The manner in which Holden takes up arms against everything from ?flits? (gays) to religion displays even more of the genuineness of his character, aiming to even further his relatability to the minds of other adolescents. This brutal honesty is something that everyone thinks of, but not many have acted on. Whether one has acted on it or not though, surely everyone has encountered someone as callously direct as Holden Caulfield.
Yet another fact about Holden that Salinger uses in order to make his stream of consciousness writing style effective is that Holden suffers from frequent fits of depression that are only furthered by his drinking habits. Salinger thoroughly describes Holden?s thoughts that reflect these symptoms of depression. This shows that Salinger obviously knew the subject quite well. Salinger also speaks through Holden?s thoughts on the common biases that infect the human mind, which are exemplified by his comments on the aforementioned subjects of homosexuality and religion.
J.D. Salinger?s use of the second person narrative creates such a realism throughout the entire novel that one might even forget that the writer is not truly Holden Caulfield, but is, in fact, J.D. Salinger writ...