Thursday, August 1, 2019

Catcher In The Rye Essay

A journey is more than a physical movement from one place to another. All journeys no matter how arduous entail setbacks and barriers that must be met. In doing so the traveller experiences a more significant inner journey of self growth. This is evident in the journey from adolescence to adulthood during which setbacks and barriers may entail a loss of innocence. J. D Salinger’s novel the Catcher in the rye explores this concept through various literary techniques. ( thesis) Loss of innocence as a major issue within the concept of a rites of passage is explored by J. D Salinger through the protagonist Holden Caulfield. His journey appears to be one self destructive act after another. This adult world into which Holden is forced into disturbs him profoundly. In his view, the adults who dwell this world, seem to be filled with phoniness, pretence and social compromise. He finds it almost intolerable to communicate with most adults and peers. This is prevalent throughout the book when he constantly brings up the question of what happens to the ducks in winter. The adults’ response to this recurring question is of contemn and expectation to know the answer, therefore never giving him an adequate explanation. This clearly demonstrates how his innocent mind conflicts with this phony adult world, and his response, is to rebel against this whole society. â€Å" quote† Holden expresses his rebellion through his inability to progress in life and his hatred of people. It is really only in children that he sees the true simplicity of honesty- and that is his escape from this adult phony world. Salinger portrays the transition from adolescence to adulthood as a quest for self identity and self discovery. For Holden however, his journey is a bombardment of obstacles in his search for connection with others, thus highlighting the angst of growing up. Holden finally breaks down with the constant disappointments and let downs he encounters. â€Å"quote ans technique† From his fight with Stradlater to Maurice’s exploitation of a prostitute, to Mr Antolini’s behaviour, Holden just cannot handle any more letdowns so his odyssey is one of loneliness and cynicism. An example of this is when Holden abruptly gives Sally an ultimatum to leave their current lives behind and build a future without the promise of stability. Sally’s refusal to this proposal results in Holden lashing out at her hence elucidating Holden’s naivety. And, just like a kid, he thinks that everyone is to blame except for him. The inability to meet setbacks and barriers and accept a loss of innocence within the jouney from adolescence to adulthood will inevitably lead to ones downfall. The deliberate irony is that Holden strives to act as a grown up but constantly acts like a child is seen in his provocation of his peers and his irrational thinking. â€Å"quote † The title of the book, â€Å"Catcher in the Rye,† is more than just a pretty ditty. It is Holden’s dream to be the catcher in the rye, thus save little children from falling off the cliff into adulthood. â€Å"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around–nobody big, I mean–except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff–I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going. I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. † Holden is adamant on playing the adult role of protecting children and their innocence that gets lost in the adult phony world. He envisions protecting and shielding children from the evils of society, when he himself is one who is in a state of conflict between adolescence and adulthood. However, it is through the telling of his story that Holden eventually gains control of his disturbed past. His search for self identity and discovery can be seen as a search for tolerance, acceptance and understanding- something that he finally experiences in the final scene with Phoebe riding the carrousel. When he see’s Phoebe on the carrousel, he accepts that he is not a child anymore indicating that he is perhaps more accepting of change. Towards the end, Holden has found some wisdom when he claims to â€Å"sort of miss everyone. † There was some light for him at the end of the tunnel- and that light is hope and acceptance that he doesn’t live in such an evil world that he made out to be. Holden wants desperately to protect this idealistic life but perhaps he realises at the end that it is not possible and that maturity is a means of accepting what life throws at one. How he deals with obstacles along the way conveys Holden’s journey from adolescence into adulthood.

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