"Catcher In The Rye Essays"

Filter results by:


View Full Essay

Portrayal of Holden Caulfield in 2009 Essay

Words: 1479 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 19548968

Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. Specifically it will portray main character Holden Caulfield in 2009. "Catcher in the Rye" is a coming of age story about a young man on a quest to find himself. By the end of the novel, Holden Caulfield has endured freedom, madness, and death, and yet he finally matures enough to manage as an adult. Ultimately, Holden is a cynic who views the world and the people in it with a negative eye. In 2009, it seems Holden would only have a lot more to be cynical about and view negatively.

Salinger wrote this controversial book in 1951, and Holden was 16 in the book. That would make him 74 today. Throughout the book, he proves that he has a negative, cynical view of life. For example, at the beginning of the book, he is critical of the expensive prep school that has just expelled him. He sarcastically notes while he stands watching a school football game, "The more expensive a school is, the more crooks it has -- I'm not kidding" (Salinger 4). Later, one of his teachers tells him, "Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules'" (Salinger 8). This starts Holden's thinking that he cannot win this complicated game of life, because he will not play by the rules. However, in 2009, Holden has realized that to survive in life, you have to play by the rules, and he has, compromising his early principles, but ensuring he fit in and survived the game of life. He has a wife, children, grandchildren, a nice home, and all the trappings of a successful man, but like his younger days, he is still not happy, because he has compromised his beliefs to make it happen.

At the very end of the book, Holden admits that he is "missing everyone," and that indicates that he has given up some of his cynicism and need for alienation, which allows him to move through life more successfully. He ponders, "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody'" (Salinger 214), and this makes it clear his recovery is almost complete, because he learned the ways of the world and knows how to…… [Read More]

Bloom, Harold, ed. Holden Caulfield. New York: Chelsea House, 1990.

Bloom, Harold, ed J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2000.
View Full Essay

Personality Disorder of Holden Caulfield Essay

Words: 1129 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 2372092

Holden Caulfield's Narcissistic Personality Disorder

In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger created the character of Holden Caulfield, an adolescent boy who is faced with the obstacles of both society and life as he struggles to find direction. In many respects, Holden seems not unlike the typical teenager: he is on a quest to discover his own unique identity and he longs for acceptance from his parents and peers.Yet unlike the typical teenager, Holden's mental state becomes decreasingly stable throughout the book and the audience learns that he has been admitted to a mental hospital. While it may appear that Holden Caulfield is plagued by a severe mental illness such as manic depressive disorder, the truth, however, is much more benign. The deterioration of his mental state is brought on by a compelling family tragedy which aggravates his existing anxiety and depression and, as a result, develops into narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissism is a term often confused with egomania or high self-esteem. Drew Pinsky, M.D. (2009) writes that narcissism is really a disconnection with oneself, and he claims that the key to understanding its origins in the Greek myth of Narcissus is that Narcissus "failed to recognize himself in his own reflection." (88) Narcissists lack self- awareness, and are "haunted by chronic feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and self- loathing." (88) They look to others to fuel their feelings of self-importance. Clinical levels of narcissism are measured by the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), which determines the presence of the seven classical traits of narcissism: authority, entitlement, exhibitionism, exploitativeness, self-sufficiency, superiority, and vanity. (89) Pinsky claims that childhood trauma is the true cause of "unhealthy" narcissism. He classifies narcissists as "traumatized individuals who are unable to connect in any real way with other people." (7) He believes that, "narcissists often have a deep sense of emptiness and shame that they carry from…… [Read More]

Coles, Robert. "Anna Freud and J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield." The Virginia Quarterly

Review. Spring (2000): 214-224. Web. 12 May 2011.
View Full Essay

Salinger Is an American Literary Treasure Best Essay

Words: 1680 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 3900264

Salinger is an American literary treasure, best known for his novella Catcher in the Rye. However, Catcher in the Rye is but one of many in the canon of Salinger works. Salinger's short stories have recently garnered renewed attention because several unpublished Salinger stories were leaked online in November of 2013, three years after the author's death (Runcie, 2013). Salinger died a recluse, and a man of mystery who was as much an American antihero as Holden Caulfield of Catcher in the Rye. There have been numerous cultural allusions of Salinger's iconic novel and its quintessentially postmodern protagonist. Although no film has ever been made directly from the story of Catcher in the Rye, Morgan (2010) points out that there have been allusions to Salinger stories in films like The Collector (1965) and Six Degrees of Separation (1993). Additionally, a 2013 documentary film about J.D. Salinger promises to reveal the multiple personas of one of America's most loved writers. Themes like alienation and the futility of Western material culture recur in Salinger's short stories.

Salinger's short stories might not be as famous as Catcher in the Rye, but they say just as much about the author's cultural and historical context. "Teddy" follows in the footsteps of Herman Hesse's Siddhartha in introducing Eastern philosophy and meditation practices to a Western audience. Serving as an intercultural communicator, Salinger uses "Teddy" as a vehicle for subverting Western religions and social norms. In an obituary for Salinger, Gopnik (2010) refers to "the myth of the author as homespun religious mystic," (p. 1). "Teddy" reflects the author's affection with Eastern modes of thought, especially with regards to the attitudes toward death and dying. The title character in Teddy believes fully in reincarnation. His advanced philosophical thinking cause the adults around him to view him as a sort of superchild, and Teddy remains cautiously cynical. In spite of the cynicism brewing beneath the surface in Salinger's books, and in his key protagonists, there is also a core of idealism that is inescapable. Teddy, like Caulfield, blend cynicism and idealism in compelling ways that make these quintessential postmodern antiheroes.

Gopnik refers to Salinger as " an expansive romantic," which is not to connote Romanticism as it was developed in the 19th century but a postmodern interpretation thereof. Salinger's romanticism is expressed as a return to the child's innocent but pressing curiosity about…… [Read More]

Works Cited:
Gopnik, A. (2010). Postscript: J.D. Salinger. The New Yorker. Retrieved online: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2010/02/08/100208ta_talk_gopnik

McGrath, C. (2010). J.D. Salinger, literary recluse, dies at 91. International New York Times. Retrieved online: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/books/29salinger.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
View Full Essay

How Characters Interact with Society Essay

Words: 1812 Length: 6 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 84259871

J.D. Salinger: How the Characters in His Books Interact With Society of the Time in Which They Were Written

The objective of this study is to examine the writings of J.D. Salinger. In addition, this study will examine how the characters of Salinger in his books interacted with society of the time in which they were written. J.D. Salinger's characters interacted with the society of that time through drawing the society into the stories and becoming a part of the daily lives of those who read Salinger's books.

One of the most popular works of J.D. Salinger is a 1951 novel entitled "The Catcher in the Rye." This book was an adult publication originally, that has since become a favorite of teenaged and adolescent readers. Salinger's characters became almost a well-known friend to readers of his books. For example, when the book entitled "Hapworth" was published by Salinger in 1924, Malcolm (2013) reports that this "very long and very strange story…was greeted with unhappy even embarrassed silence." (p.1)

Salinger did not miss a punch in his works whether he was making the readers love him, resent him, or even as was in the case of some of his works reported as being "seriously annoying." (Malcolm, 2013, p.1) In 1961, Salinger published 'Franny' and 'Zooey' and it is reported that "a flood of pent-up resentment was released." (Malcolm, 2013, p.1) Alfred Kazin, stated in an essay reported as "sardonically entitled 'J.D. Salinger: Everybody's Favorite' that Salinger would be "relegated to the margins of literature for doting on the 'horribly precocious' Glasses. I am sorry to have to use the word 'cute in respect to Salinger… but there is absolutely no other words that for me so accurately typifies the self-conscious charm and prankishness of his own writing and his extraordinary cherishing of his favorite Glass characters." (Malcolm, 2013, p.1)

Salinger's work 'Zooey' is a story about the two youngest of the Glass children, Franny and Zooey. This story takes place in a large New York apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Salinger's use of places in New York that are easy to recognize is stated in the work of Malcolm to "give the work a deceptive surface realism that obscures its fundamental fantastic character" and this is enabled by Salinger's "ear for colloquial speech." (Malcolm, 2013, p.1) Franny, a book that lays the way for…… [Read More]

Baume, S. (2013) Nine Stories by JD Salinger. Little Brown 1953. First Collection. The Short Review. Online Retrieved from: http://www.theshortreview.com/reviews/JDSalingerNineStories.htm

Geddes, D. (2013) J.D. Salinger -- IN Memoriam. The Satirist. Retrieved from: http://www.thesatirist.com/books/JD_Salinger_InMemoriam.html
View Full Essay

Ambiguity in American Literature Essay

Words: 1158 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 17652327

Sylvia Plath explores ambiguity from the perspective of a woman living in a man's world in The Bell Jar. Esther receives different messages about who she is and who she wants to be. Society tells her to be the good wife and mother but she never adapts well to this notion. She feels ambivalence toward most of the women she meets and ultimately feels pulled in different directions when it comes to expectations and desires. The conflict Esther experiences results from what society expects from "good girls." The article Mrs. Greenwood sends her exposes the hypocrisy she cannot ignore. The article explains how a "man's world was different than a woman's world and a man's emotions are different than a woman's emotions" (Plath 65). The notion of women being pure as the wind-driven snow and submitting to the will of their husbands becomes more of a burden than anything else to Esther. Esther knew omen could be talented and independent but they were also expected to live for their families and the lines between those two worlds was at best ambiguous for Esther.

In Richard Heller's novel, Catch 22, Heller observes ambiguity through radically different characters experiencing the same war. Ambiguity is played out through absurdity in many cases. Yossarian evolves through the novel and when he runs into the old woman, she tells him, "Catch-22 says that they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing" (Heller 416). Yossarian realizes that it makes no difference if Catch 22 actually exists or not because "everyone thought it existed" (418). He finally decides it does not exist because the authority that exists in the world does not need to prove itself. The scene in which Yossarian is searching for the young girl illustrates absurdity. As he encounters people who…… [Read More]

Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Signet Books. 1952.

Heller, Joseph. Catch 22. New York: Dell Publishing Co. 1961.
View Full Essay

Salinger Tracing Expressions of Post-War Essay

Words: 2368 Length: 8 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 98624376

" Both of these statements are quite arguably true, yet both also smack of the immature self-assuredness that belies the innocence of the speaker, and it is this aspect of the girl -- her very pretensions to adulthood that, in effect, render her a more honest adult than most real adults -- that the narrator of the story seems to find the most interesting and appealing. As the girl is only beginning to glimpse the lack of innocence that accompanies growing up, and appears to be enjoying it, the narrator is able to travel the reverse course and rediscover an innocence thought lost.

This rediscovery happens in a far more direct way at the end of the story, when the narration has switched primarily to a third person, until Sergeant X -- who is obviously embittered, somewhat shattered, and generally disconnected from his life -- receives a letter form Esme. The note rekindles a sense of connection with the protagonist, breaking through the isolation that is building throughout the latter half of the story and reestablishing some hope in humanity for this main character. His sudden falling asleep after reading the letter is indicative of the amount of relief and ease that this connection caused for him; he can connect to children in a way that he cannot with self-absorbed and dishonest adults.

Franny and Zooey

Both war and childhood innocence take a somewhat more removed position in the novella Franny and Zooey, which picks up the trials and tribulations of the Glass family seven years after Seymour's suicide as recounted in "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." Franny and Zooey are the two youngest Glass children, and they revere their oldest brother even this long after his passing, with fairly different and largely inconclusive results. The two title characters are seen clearly out of their childhood, but really just on the threshold of true adulthood; it is more a story of transition and even of a growing isolation and disillusionment, in some ways, rather than the uplifting return to innocence that "For Esme -- With Love and Squalor" provides or even the macabre yet highly touching and hugely informative exposition of suffering and a lack of understanding exemplified in "A Perfect Day for Bananafish."

Franny, feeling largely isolated and alone, has taken to reciting a "prayer" that really becomes more of a meditative exercise. She is suffering a crisis…… [Read More]

Eger, Christopher. "The Military Service of J.D. Salinger." Accessed April 2010. http://ww2history.suite101.com/article.cfm/the-military-service-of-jd-salinger

Salinger, J.D. "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." In Nine Stories. New York: Little, Brown, & Co., 1991.
View Full Essay

Elaborative Rehearsal Journal 3 Elaborative Essay

Words: 379 Length: 1 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 89202616

The English literature course was one that I thought would be difficult. I had spent most of my schooling learning to memorize things, and the books and poems I studied in that class were too complex to memorize. Elaborative rehearsal allowed me to understand by relating characters to people I know; by relating the messages in the stories to popular phrases or axioms; and through other similar means. I found that these simple, easy-to-remember things, when accessed, then allowed me to recall all of the rest of the information I had stored about each work. I found I could remember an entire novel simply by remembering a nickname I could give a single character. Hockenbury and Hockenbury claim that elaborative rehearsal is more powerful for storing complex ideas into long-term memory. I did well on that exam, and continued to use those techniques for other exams, each of which I did well on. I seldom use maintenance rehearsal any more because it simply is not as effective.

Works… [Read More]