catcher in the rye analysis - Shawnkeisha Stoudamire ENG...

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Shawnkeisha Stoudamire 04/04/11 ENG 226 He’s Crazy—He Swears He Is J.D. Salinger “…introduced the world to an antihero who became a cult favorite with readers (203),” says author Lisa Priviter in her article Holden’s Irony in Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye . This is to say that Salinger created a character that turned out to be a favorite amongst readers. Generations of readers have fallen for Holden because he is relatable in many ways. According to Priviter, Holden is not a cultural icon because of the reader’s inside look on a teenager’s downward spiral into a nervous breakdown, but because he takes chances that readers would not (205). The chances that Holden take are not what make him a cultural icon. What makes Holden an icon for generation after generation are the ironies within his personality. Holden’s personality ironies are what push the novel forward and readers ignore the fact that although Holden is a sweet young man, he may not be a reliable narrator (Edwards, 554). The novel is written in first person and the audience only gets the view of a teenager. No one is able to give a reliable analysis of their life at the age of sixteen years old. Holden is young and has not lived long enough to supply supported ideals to the audience for them to take any real consideration into. The audience is intrigued with him because he has many issues and is not afraid to admit it, but that alone is a good reason to throw reliability out the window. While they were on their way to the ice skating rink, Holden lied to Sally as he told her that he loved her. After he did, he stated, “I’m crazy. I swear to God I am (67),” which he states all through the novel. At the beginning of chapter three of the novel, Holden tells the reader about his problem
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with lying. He says, “I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful (9).” He lets the reader know that he is a habitual liar. Holden is not a bad guy, but he knows that he says and does things that make no sense. How could the audience believe everything Holden says when his vision and his recollection of situations may be warped? He had a lot going on in his life at this particular time, including the continuing mourning of Allie. Through the novel Holden is still mourning his brother, Allie, who died of leukemia at the age of eleven. He has not completely gotten over Allie’s death. He demonstrates this when he wrote about Allie’s baseball mitt for Stradlater’s writing composition. After telling the story of his brother, Holden states, “…that’s what I wrote Stradlater’s composition about. Old Allie’s
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