Catcher In The Rye Existentialism

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Holden Caulfield’s Place in the Classroom Schools have a remarkable influence of the next generation. While in school, students are at the ages where they are the most impressionable, a fact which has been long acknowledged. The amount of sway that schools have over other’s children has often made many uncomfortable. Many attempts have been made by parents and older citizens to limit the curriculum of public schools to exclude any topic that can be perceived as immoral. Frequently, this tendency results in a movement to ban books that may have undesirable content from being taught in schools. A book that is frequently assigned to the banned books list is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. However, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye…show more content…
As students analyze The Catcher in the Rye, they gain insight into the cultural environment at the time when it was written. J.D. Salinger was a soldier in WWII that saw some of the most combat, most notably fighting at the Battle of the Bulge, invading Utah Beach on D-Day, and liberating prisoners at Dachau. As a young man, Salinger saw the destructiveness of adult society. However, Salinger did not return from combat and write about war, he wrote about an adolescent wandering around New York City for a few days trying to cope with the “phoniness” of the adult world. Near the beginning of the novel, Holden states, “The one side of my head- the right side – if filled with millions of grey hairs…And yet, I still act sometimes like I was only about twelve” (8). While his experiences and age make him old enough to be on the verge of adulthood, Holden chooses to cling to youth with his behavior. Holden Caulfield attempting to retain innocence as he grows up mirrors America’s destruction of innocence and feelings of emptiness as it reeled from the horrific scenes of World War II. As the young soldiers, each of them a Holden Caulfield in their own right, streamed back home after the war, having viewed atrocities that no man should ever see, and they changed American society. Using The Catcher in the Rye in high schools teaches students how society changes after massive events, especially because it was written after WWII, a topic heavily covered in American public schools. Implementing The Catcher in the Rye into the high school curriculum is important, because it demonstrates well how art reflects the cultural environment. By being relatable to young people, it makes it simpler for the broader connections to society to be seen and for youths to form a broader perspective of the interconnectedness of the
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