We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

The Catchter in the Rye Essay Sample

  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 973
  • Rewriting Possibility: 99% (excellent)
  • Category: narration

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

Introduction of TOPIC

Salinger uses a variety of techniques to develop the major themes of The Catcher in the Rye. The statement that ‘Salinger uses a variety of techniques to develop the major themes of The Catcher in the Rye’ is true in a number of important ways. The major themes of the novel include the problems of alienation, sexual identity and overcoming personal loss within the context of the overall concept of inner journey. Salinger employs techniques such as “unreliable narrator”, colloquial “spoken” syntax and dramatic irony combined with symbolism and the use of recurring motifs. The combined effects of these techniques confirm the overall thesis of the novel in its depiction of the psychological development and struggle of the protagonist Holden Caufield to overcome the alienated conditions of his life. The ultimate triumph of Holden’s humanity in the stunning epiphany that effectively concludes the narrative raises this novel to the level of a modern classic.

The theme of alienation is central to an understanding of the overall concept of inner journey in The Catcher in the Rye. For example, the technique of the “unreliable narrator” is used effectively by Salinger to create the persona of a confused and frightened character who cannot find his place in the world. This can be shown when Holden narrates that “some things are hard to remember” in the context of his fight with Stradlater in chapter 6. Holden attacked Stradlater because he was filled with uncontrollable rage when he believed Stradlater had had sex with Jane Gallagher (an old childhood friend of Holden). Holden cannot conceptualise and articulate his feelings in this situation and therefore cannot reliably inform the responder accordingly. It is possible that he is driven by a combination of sexual frustration and his subconscious desire to protect the sexual innocence of children. The overall effect of this technique is to demonstrate that he cannot sufficiently comprehend his true place in the world and is therefore alienated from it.

Alienation is a difficult obstacle for Holden to overcome. This is made obvious with the use of first person narration. Holden would often refer to people as being ‘phony’. In the bar, Holden narrates “I

was surrounded by phonies” and deliberately excludes himself from the crowd. Holden also excludes

Sorry, but full essay samples are available only for registered users

Choose a Membership Plan
himself from the general society. An example is when Holden is talking to Ernest Morrow’s mother, Mrs Morrow (Ernest is a fellow student of Holden’s at Pency). Holden tells Mrs Morrow that his name is “Rudolf Schmidt” but then admits that that “was the name of the janitor” of his dorm at Pency Prep, the school he used to attend. He also lies to Mrs Morrow saying the reason why he was out of school is because he had to have surgery but admits he was sorry for lying, “I was right away sorry I’d said it, but it was too late”. The overall use of first person narration allows us, as the reader, to know what Holden is verbally saying but what he is actually thinking.

Sexual development and identity is a big issue for Holden, one where he is confused and does not understand. The satirical observations of which Holden uses to identify people effectively shows how Holden abandons situations of which he could potentially have sexual intercourse. An example is when Holden is presented with a prostitute named Sunny. In the quote “The crossed her legs and started jiggling this one foot up and down. She was very nervous, for a prostitute”, Sunny is portrayed as a young child through Holden’s perspective thus Holden rejects the opportunity for sexual intercourse. Another example is when Holden attempts to ‘flirt’ with the girls in the bar, “What they did, though, the three of them, when I did it, they started giggling like morons”. The girls simply laugh at Holden because he is too young for them. It can be concluded from the quotes and the use of satirical observations that Holden does not know his own sexual standing and status. The problem of overcoming personal loss of a loved one is what affects Holden the most. Salinger uses recurring motifs combined with symbolism to express Holden’s psychological state of mind.

The recurring motif of the red hunting hat is a way Holden copes with the death of his brother Allie. The red hunting hat represents Allie as Holden narrates that Allie had red hair, “I’ll tell you what kind of red hair he had”. Another explanation of the red hunting hat is that Holden is having trouble growing up as he admits to acting young for his age. This is supported by the quote “I act quite young for my age sometimes. It’s really ironical, because I’m six foot two and a half and I have gray hair”. Another recurring motif is the ducks at Central Park. Holden questions several people about the ducks and none of them supply a satisfactory answer. Holden asks Horwitz, a taxi driver, “Do you happen to know where they go in the wintertime, by any chance?” One possible explanation of why Holden is so curious of the ducks is because they symbolise him and he confused with his own future. The use of these recurring motifs allows us to explore and piece together Holden’s psychological state of mind. Salinger definitely incorporates a variety of literary techniques to develop the major themes of The Catcher in the Rye. The clever use of unreliable and first person narration, satirical observations, symbolism and recurring motifs clearly show the characterization of the protagonist Holden Caufield. These techniques have also shown the major themes of the novel and the overall concept of inner journey.

We can write a custom essay on

The Catchter in the Rye Essay Sample ...
According to Your Specific Requirements.

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

So Much Water So Close to Home...

Claire is the narrator of the story. She tells the events as they happen. We see the story from her point of view. She tells us how she feels, how her husband feels, what she thinks and what her husband thinks. All the rest of the characters speak as she hears them, think as she understands them and behaves as she sees them. The reader is taken from beginning to end as an observer and as such silently participates in the flow of the scenes. They reason with their minds, speak with their hearts and feel with their souls as they are moved by the characters. It is important that Claire does the telling of the story because among all the others, her character goes through a wide range of emotions, such as love “I look at the word love and then I underline it,” passion “I turned and opened...

The Death of the Moth

The narrator is not a casual spectator but is an active observer that takes into consideration the minute details of the happenings around it. He not only observes but also records those happening comprehensively and lucidly. Although he narrates the story in third person but he also includes his own subjective views about the happenings. On one side, he narrates the events that culminate at the death of a moth while on the other hand he narrates his own activities and feelings about the moth. So this narration is a blend of first person and third person narration. For example; “The legs agitated themselves once more. I looked as if for the enemy against which he struggled. I looked out of doors. What had happened there?” First two lines are third person whereas next two are in first person. At start he forwards his personal views about moth and set...

Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” and John Updike’s “A&P”

Point of View in Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” and John Updike’s “A&P” Point of view and narration are effective aspects of story telling; they give the audience insight to the character’s development throughout the story. In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” and John Updike’s “A&P” first-person narration is used to describe to different experiences; both share an epiphany at the end of each story. The epiphanies in each story, although different, are more profound since they are told in first-person. In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” the narrator is unenthusiastic about a blind man visiting his house, when he discusses blind stereotypes, he states, “He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me. My idea of blindness came from movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs. A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to” (Carver 33)....

Popular Essays


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?