Essay #3 - Joseph Dombrosky ARLT 100g/35224D Culture...

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Joseph Dombrosky ARLT 100g/35224D: Culture, Conformity, Revolt David Rollo “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye” An analysis of Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye Written by J.D. Salinger in the mid-1900s, The Catcher in the Rye introduced adolescence to the literary world. The novel follows several days in the life of Holden Caulfield, a 16-year-old student who has just failed out of his fourth school. Throughout it, we see how Holden, a complicated youth, deals with the transition into adulthood. He sees the adult world as one full of what he terms “phonies.” Thus, he not only wants to refrain from becoming a part of it but he wants to stop others, especially those younger them him, from transitioning into it as well. From this, Holden fantasizes about “catching” kids as they fall into adulthood. This dream of being a “catcher” comes from a misquoted poem, the chorus of which says, “When a body meet a body coming through the rye…” Holden substitutes the word “catch” for “meet” and alters the poem’s meaning (p. 173). Throughout the novel, the idea of the “catcher in the rye” not only divides the world of children from that of adults, it also sets up a paradigm where Holden feels the need to prevent children from transitioning into the latter. The Catcher in the Rye creates a partition between adults and children largely through Holden’s views and interpretations of them. At certain points in the novel, he describes how he views the adult world as one full of “phonies,” people who follow routines, lose all spontaneity, and adhere to what he thinks of as their prescribed societal roles (p. 133). Because adults play the
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roles given to them, they lose their individuality. This bothers Holden; he enjoys being an individual, which is something that is represented by his outlandish red hunting cap that appears throughout the story (first appears on p. 29). This division of the two worlds is a critical aspect of
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