Writing For Research Essay

990 words - 4 pages

The Catcher in the Rye, the critically acclaimed novel by J.D. Salinger, has been reviewed in different ways. The novel is surrounded by controversy and there are countless attempts at banning the book for its content, which comments on sex and includes obscene language. Despite all the debates and conflicts over the books, numerous people have been able to review the novel and see it as a book telling the truth about the world, all from the eyes of one adolescent. Many have examined the book in different lights and several have used the critical lenses when analyzing the novel. Literary critics such as Daniel S. Burt and Jacob Robertson have effectively analyzed Holden Caulfield, the protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye, using the new criticism, psychoanalytic, and historical critical lenses of literary analysis.
In order to understand all of the fame that follows The Catcher in the Rye wherever it goes, Robertson and Burt both use the new criticism lens on the novel. The new criticism lens views the text of the book as existing independently. The meaning of the content is discovered by doing a close reading while not using any outside sources. According to these critics, the acclaimed novel consists of “adolescent language and subject matter” (Robertson 1), “scathing indictment of middle-class values” (Burt 1), and “irreverent, caustic humor” (Burt 1). There has also been a great amount of “uneasiness concerning the vulgar language and discussion of sex in the novel” (Burt 4), causing many people and schools to attempt to ban the book in their area. Many have been disgusted by the book and consider it a perverse and immoral book, leading to them attempting to censor it. However, “such attempts to censorship only serve to parody the society Salinger criticized in the novel” Also, “The Catcher in the Rye has been interpreted variously as a quest narrative, a religious metaphor, a scornful critique of American capitalism and conformity, and a bildungsroman” (Burt 2). Using the new criticism lens, Burt and Robertson have been able to understand the novel at a deeper level and recognize the effect of the novel on its readers.
While the new criticism lens deals with only the text of a book, Burt and Robertson have also effectively used the psychoanalytic lens to perceive what goes on in Holden’s head and how his thoughts affect his actions. The psychoanalytic lens views the wording of the book as an expression of the personality, state of mind, feelings, and desires of its author. Holden Caulfield, the main character of Salinger’s novel, is “perhaps the most sensitive and sorrowful adolescent” (Burt 1). Holden has experienced, “a series of crises involving sexuality, wealth, sickness, aging, and death, which highlight his disillusionment and build toward a climactic moment of ‘enlightenment.’’” (Robertson 1). Both critics see Holden as a kid who...

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