Catcher In The Rye Rebellion Analysis

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A rebel is a “man who says no, but whose refusal does not imply renunciation” (Camus, 1991: 1), said French philosopher Albert Camus. The precondition to rebellion is oppression. Rebellion is not a denunciation of life in its entirety, according to Camus, but parts of life which are oppressive and do not allow men to be free. In J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the rye, the protagonist and narrator Holden Caulfield is a sixteen-year-old boy who has just been kicked out of school, Pency Prep, for failing four subjects and not applying himself (Salinger, 1994: 3). The story is told over three day period as Holden wonders the streets New York avoiding going home to tell his parents he has been kicked out of school. He later visits his old teacher, Mr Spencer, who tries to get him in order to no avail. His rebellious spirit leads him to wander alone in New York. Holden is a personification of Camus definition of a rebel; he turning around his hunting hat is a symbolical gesture of refusal to submit to societal values and norms. His dislike for phony’s, a…show more content…
Holden is outraged by the death of John Castle, a kid in his math class who committed suicide because of bullies, “old James Castle laying right on the stone steps and all. He was dead, and his teeth, and blood, were all over the place, and nobody would even go near him. He had on this turtleneck sweater I'd lent him. All they did with the guys that were in the room with him was expel them. They didn't even go to jail.” (ibid, 1994: 92). The fact that the bullies were expelled and not sent to jail, is ludicrous to him; this is a plea for justice. Through his morbid reminiscence of dead people, whom he admits they were nice people, we see a gentle side of Holden. He wants acceptance, tolerance, likeability in people, and justice. Because he will never get that, he chooses to run
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