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The Cather in the Rye: Revealing the Major Ideas and Concepts

Person Reading Novel

This book has been one of the most popular in the world for many years. Both teenagers and adults enjoy reading it. So, it is highly likely that you will get an assignment related to this novel. On the one hand, it may seem to be an easy story written for fun with no tracks of some significant ideas hidden there. However, why then do we choose to write an essay on “The Catcher in the Rye”?

So, on the other hand, if you wish to gain a brilliant result and get an excellent grade, you should have patience and tons of materials around you. Remember that this book has been researched thousands of times, so you can use this information for your own purpose as well. Here, we have compiled the most important things to mention while analyzing this novel.

Background of the Plot

It is true that this story includes some autobiographical points from the author’s life. He is related to the main hero closely, so we can see some parallels between them. Many events which take place in the book are real facts from Salinger’s. For example, his main hero moves from one school to another, just like his creator. However, the story goes in the post-war times when social rules of behavior were extremely important for the young generation to follow. The writer, per contra, uses slang, highlights the process of becoming an adult and its challenges, pays attention to the dark side of the life and so on. It was not typical for the literature at that age.

So, many critics found this book unserious and pointless. Moreover, it was forbidden in many states. And publishing it is still banned in many places. At the same time, this novel is one of the most famous and popular in the whole world. Many young people see their own story in the life of the main character. Thus, they comprehend him as the embodiment of opposition to the society.

Childhood and Adulthood

There are also two important opposites in the novel. These are childhood and adulthood in Holden’s mind. We understand that these periods are absolutely different. However, the author shows the attitude of the main hero to the process of growing up. He illustrates the young boy’s fears, dreams, and hopes. Holden even creates a fantasy about the two worlds of adults and children.

Childhood is the place of peace and innocence. At the same time, adulthood is opposite to it – it is full of hypocrisy, hate, and death. He characterizes this world with the word “phoniness”. It is actually one of the most famous phrases from the book. For a young boy, it is a symbol of cynic people, futility and shallowness. All wrong things are compiled in this word and Holden often calls adults “phonies”. Although Holden judges many people according to these standards and his personal position, the boy rarely follows any rules. He sometimes becomes the phony and even does not notice it. His pointless jokes and pranks are the best proofs for this statement.

Alienated Character

One of the major motifs in the novel is the alienation of the main hero. He constantly feels loneliness but does nothing to change the situation. He behaves in a rude way which is absolutely inappropriate in some cases. As a result, nobody around him wants to communicate with Holden.

What is the main reason for such attitude to others? Probably, it is a kind of self-protection which keeps him isolated from the world. The boy makes attempts to get rid of this feeling and to end his alienation up, but nothing works, as Holden wants to stay behind this wall in order to protect himself from harmful influence. He even claims that communication with other people overwhelm and confuse him. At the same time, this alienation is the main source of his problems and difficulties.

The Symbol of the Red Hunting Hat

This is the first thing which everyone who reads this book notices. However, it is not just a colorful piece of clothes. The author gives a deeper sense to this item. This is the symbol of being different and specific. Holden shows his individuality and originality via this red hat. Bright and unusual thing quickly catches attention of boring people. This hat plays a great role in understanding the Holden’s personality better and clearer.

The Symbol of the Museum

Literature Lesson

We have definitely noticed that Holden often visits the Museum of Natural History. What attracts him there? The museum is the symbol of purity and infinity for the young boy. He is amazed by the exhibitions and sees that they are unchanged, time does not affect them. At the same time, he is growing up and constantly changing. This fact makes him confused. Holden wants to live in this fantastic world on which time does not have any influence, so that he could stay in the world of childhood forever. The museum is also the place where he can forget about his fears of new challenges which wait for him in the world of adults.

Many readers are amazed by this novel and reread it several times in order to understand its motifs and ideas better. You should try to explain your personal attitude to Holden and his worldview. Maybe, you have something similar with this character. The topics presented in this book may be close to teenagers who encounter alienation and are afraid of the challenges of the adulthood. You should explain the significance of such experiences as well as the importance and uniqueness of this novel for the whole American literature. As we know, many other authors were inspired by Salinger’s masterpiece and created their works on the similar themes.

In the next post, we will give you some prompts and examples on how to write an essay about Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. Don’t miss it!

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