The unique “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger is an unique, which centres around the theme of isolation. This study will examine this theme, together with the author’s use of characterisation and setting, which assist to communicate the character’s eventual break down.
“The Catcher in the Rye” is an individual account told by Holden Caulfield, the storyteller of the book. He remembers a weekend of his life from a psychiatric hospital, and throughout produces an impression of his isolation, and seclusion from society.
We see whatever through Holden’s eyes, therefore he can not constantly be said to be a reputable storyteller, however we still see him to have problems therefore there is still room for an outside point of view.
Throughout the unique, Holden reveals feelings of alienation. He states he feels trapped “on the other side” of life, and normally does not feel he fits in with the world around him. He discovers interaction with other people puzzling and hard, and so constructs to himself that he is above interacting with other individuals, and almost exceptional to anyone else around him.
“I thought what I ‘d do was, I ‘d pretend to be one of those deaf-mutes. That method I would not have to have any goddam silly discussions with any person.”
Holden tries to escape from social scenarios, as he discovers them challenging to deal with and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, in addition to causing Holden issues, his isolation from society also functions as the little stability that he has in his life, and the only aspect he can control. As a sixteen-year-old young boy maturing, these sensations of alienation could merely be seen as routine teenage feelings, nevertheless in Holden’s case his isolation eventually results in him breaking down, and ending up in psychiatric care.
Holden is at the stage in his life where both society and his own body are telling him that he should be advancing into the adult years. He can be a very immature character, and even Holden himself understands this, however validates it by saying he is going “through a stage.” He seems to want to withstand the procedure of growing, and fears the modification and complicity of adult life. He takes pleasure in the innocence, and lack of responsibility of childhood, and does not wish to swap this for the grown up and more serious things in life. Nevertheless, Holden is attracted to some elements of matured life, such as self-reliance, sexuality and alcohol. Throughout the book he experiences these elements, but he contradicts the others. He thinks that the adult years has plenty of “phonies,” and that many people around him are phony and superficial.
Having said this, Holden himself lies and deceits people throughout the story. He tells the female on the train that he is the school janitor since he “didn’t seem like providing her his entire life history,” and he says himself that he is a compulsive liar, “the most great phony one might satisfy.” Throughout the book however, it is uncertain whether people actually believe him, and so his deceitfulness and lies might be seen to just help his own self-delusion, and be another part of him not comprehending who he is.
As Holden can not completely accept that he is growing, and becoming an adult, he does not appear to truly understand who he is. He seems to be searching for himself in the story, and is searching for instructions in life. We see this when he asks people numerous times where the ducks fly away to in the winter. This shows that he is searching for a way to lead his life, but is not sure where to go from his present circumstance.
During the book, Holden remains in the very same location for really little time. He moves from his school, “Pencey,” to a number of locations in New York, and then ends up back in his home town. This consistent modification of surroundings shows Holden’s feeling of not belonging, and shows that he is having a hard time to find his place in society.
While at Pencey, Holden does not get on extremely well with his schoolmates. After being thrown away of many schools previously, Holden is asked to leave Pencey, therefore goes to New York City hoping to find something to do with himself. While in New york city, he checks out numerous locations such as clubs and clubs. These locations are typically seen to be for grownups, and more mature people therefore they act as a contradiction to Holden’s sensations towards adult life. While in the clubs Holden can experience the only aspects of adulthood that he wants to accept, and so he enters order to consume and satisfy brand-new people.
After remaining in numerous places away from home, at the end of the novel Holden returns back to his hometown. Initially Holden’s intentions are to move away, and live away from his moms and dads. Nevertheless after talking to his younger sis, he chooses that he will remain at home. This shows that he is finally starting to accept that he has to face up to reality, and deal with the important things that really matter such as his household. It is ironic however; that it seeks speaking with his younger sibling that he makes this decision. She manages to encourage Holden to sit tight, and it is when watching her on the merry-go-round that he lastly breaks down into tears and understands what is occurring to him.
Holden does not finish the story, however ends it here, just going on to state that he is now in the health center. While in the hospital it seems that he has actually had time to review what occurred to him, and possibly think about who he is as a person. After developing his own dream of adulthood, full of superficiality, he should realise that all of his anticipations are not always real which he himself has been behaving in an impractical manner.
The character of Holden could be seen simply as a distressed teen, nevertheless it is made more believable that the character carries out in reality have mental issues, having ended up in a psychiatric ward. “The Catcher in the Rye” raises problems of isolation and how Holden as a young individual handle it. J.D. Salinger expresses very well how the character has a hard time to cope with life; its results on him and the method he ends up, utilizing the method of setting and the advancement of Holden as a character.