Catcher in the rye, authenticity in American society

Catcher in the rye, authenticity in American society

Catcher in the Rye-Essay Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger provoked great controversy upon its release in 1951. During this time, many key issues were debated in American society, such as the authenticity of people as individuality was compromised for conformity. These issues are explored through the eyes of Holden Caulfield, a 16 year old boy. In addition the novel also questions the class structure and place of women in society Written in the form of a diary, Catcher in the Rye depicts the inner turmoil and conflict of Holden Caulfield as he strives for individuality. Holden attempts to reject the unspoken code of conformity for the younger generations prevalent in American society in 1950. He manifests anger and frustration with the world when people follow trends and are unable to think for themselves. This is shown in Holden’s continuos criticism and judgement of these people, whom he calls “phonys”. This is his motto for describing the superficiality, hypocrisy, pretension, and shallowness that he encounters in the world around him. Holden believes that when adults are exposed to the corruptness of the world, they lose their innocence they had as a child and inevitably become phonys. Holden despises how his generation conforms to this code and he seeks to be an individual by rejecting it. There are many symbols in the novel which Holden exploits to prove his individuality. For example, the infamous red hunting hat. This hat was bought in New York for one dollar, and Holden wears it because of his desire to look different and be an individual. fix [Ackley] took another look at my hat. “Up home we wear a hat like that to shoot deer in, for Chrissake,” he said. “That’s a deer shooting hat.” “Like hell it is.” I took it off and looked at it. I sort of closed one eye, like I was taking aim at it. “This is a people shooting hat,” I said. “I shoot people in this hat.” This symbolises Holden’s scorn f…


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