Similarities between J.D. Salinger's Life and The Catcher in the Rye

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A wife witnessed her husband being murdered. A man bullied all throughout his life. An orphaned girl lost both parents to a car accident. Traumatic experiences, such as these, impact people in many ways. Author J.D. Salinger explores how one sixteen year old boy goes through many incidents that ultimately lead him to a mental breakdown. In his novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist has close similarities with Salinger, who emphasizes the impact of psychological issues throughout the socially conservative 1950s. J.D. Salinger’s upbringing was not typical for a famous and noteworthy author. Jerome David (J.D.) Salinger was born on January 1, 1919, in New York, New York. Salinger, also known as “Sony,” was the youngest of two children…show more content…
Salinger. Salinger was the literary yearbook editor at Valley Forge Military Academy (Blackstock 2247). It is believed that Valley Forge Military Academy is the model for Pencey Prep, which is the school that Holden Caulfield was expelled from (“Catcher” 117). Moreover, Salinger and Caulfield both had education struggles. It is known that Salinger “... wasn’t much of a student. After flunking out of the McBurney School near his home… he was shipped off by his parents to Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania (“J.D.,” Biography). Caulfield narrates that “... they [Pencey Prep] kicked me out… I was flunking four subjects and not applying myself and all” (Salinger 4). Additionally, Holden and Salinger both live or want to live a secluded lifestyle. For example, in the novel Holden regularly fantasizes about a solitary life and in this life he would be a self-sufficient deaf mute (Rollins 382). Salinger, however, did have a private lifestyle which was protected by his family, friends, and neighbors (“Catcher” 116). Another similarity would be, both the author and narrator have had influential teachers in their lives. Holden states that his teacher “... was about the best teacher I ever had, Mr. Antolini” (Salinger 174). He also looks to Mr. Antolini for shelter and guidance. Mr. Antolini gives Holden a lot of advice, especially about life (Rollins 383). Salinger…show more content…
Holden has so many courteous words to describe Allie. The impact of losing his brother seems to be very difficult for Holden. Salinger uses Allie’s death to show that cancer, primarily pediatric cancer, has a huge effect on the child’s family. Holden continues on stating that when he was thirteen “...they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don’t blame them. I really don’t. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it” (Salinger 38-39). Holden got to the point maybe because of anger issues and him not knowing how to cope with the death of his brother. Holden is very young when he loses his brother, which could be the reason he does not know how to deal with the situation correctly. Throughout the novel, Holden continues to think about Allie. For example, he wrote about him in a paper and he pleads to Allie in New York (Bennett 129). Psychoanalytic interpretations help readers to try and understand Holden’s psyche in order to figure out why Holden acts the way he does (Bennett 129). Looking at Caulfield’s childhood, which had a very traumatic event, could be the cause of his erratic behavior (Bennett 129). Even though there are many critics who believe Holden is “...negative, vulgar, whining, and cynical,” there are many other readers who believe there is more to Holden
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