Catcher In The Rye Essay: The Need For Control

1655 words - 7 pages

Need for Control in Catcher in the Rye   

With his work, The Catcher in the Rye  J. D. Salinger created a literary piece that was completely unique. The entire novel was written from the first person viewpoint of the 17-year-old boy Holden Caulfield. The majority of the story is compiled of Holden's rudimentary monologue of “complexly simple” thoughts, the rest utilizing his relay of previous dialogue. That, along with the use of unique punctuation, digressing explanations, and complex characterization, transforms the simple plot into a complex literary classic. The novel's dialogue and monologue alike manage to relay the feel of natural speaking such as "I mean you'd be different in some way - I can't explain what I mean." The contractions “you'd” and “can't”, since they are common in everyday language, establish a very common and simple tone. Stress on the first syllable of "different" reinforces the tone by demonstrating how typically they speak. He uses dashes for pauses and the signaling of associative digressions. Instead of for signaling pauses, commas are used only where mechanically required. "So all of a sudden, I ran like a madman across the street - I d*** near got myself killed doing it, if you want to know the truth - and went in this stationary store and bought a pad and pencil." ***CITE THIS???***

           Holden Caulfield creates a thought-provoking point of view. On the surface, many of his thought patterns seem unrelated and stray from the topic. His association of topic with digression is used almost constantly throughout the novel. However, realizing that these digressions are very relevant and even crucial to the topic, he allows the reader to gain true insight into the character. His statements about his sister's intelligence, followed by explanations of how well she listens, reveal Holden's associations of intelligence with being quiet and observant. Another example would be found in his tension around the nuns. Even though he enjoyed the conversation, he worried about being asked if he was Catholic. He stated they "...would have liked it better if he were Catholic." ***CITE?*** This gives insight to his discomfort with being judged morally, and to his association of moral people with those who look down on those who do not share them. In Holden's descriptions and thoughts, Salinger accomplished the most unique aspect of the story's point of view. Instead of using the popular and overrated style of well-refined thoughts and flowery descriptions, Salinger describes things as they are perceived upon a first impression. Naturally, the human mind does not instantly process first encounters or experiences into drawn-out rhetorical metaphors. We must think about them, relate and compare them to past experiences, and then form associations. This conclusion is based on Jean Piaget theory of assimilating new situations, accommodating them with previous knowledge, and forming generalizations for understanding, called...

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