Literary Analysis Of Catcher In The Rye

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Holden Caulfield: Growing Up or Going Down? Arguably, art is the purest form of human expression: it is art that has consistently shaped culture throughout human history. Various art forms can comfort people, enrage people, unify people, divide people, and overall provoke a form of sentiment in people. In certain circumstances literature and music harmonize with each other, forming an entity that is capable of both igniting a powerful emotional response in an audience and illuminating a deeper meaning in both pieces of art. In The Catcher in the Rye, a paradigmatic American novel, the protagonist Holden Caulfield has a myriad of paradoxical characteristics that make him both relatable and detestable, but most of all, complex. Nevertheless,…show more content…
Throughout the novel, Holden expresses a clear distaste for the adult world and an unhealthy fascination with childhood. His repetitive use of the word “phony” when describing displays misinformed perception that entering adulthood makes one inauthentic. His commentary on “the couple of nice teachers on the faculty” at Pencey Prep being “phonies, too” illustrates his bellicose nature, as the nicer teachers on the Pencey faculty such as Mr. Spencer did not act in the manner Holden describes (185). At times, Holden is pugnacious and ignorant; at times he is mild and conscious. When Holden mentions Phoebe, Allie, or any child, he retracts from his generalizing mindest relating to adults and adopts more sincere mannerisms. After Holden ties the shoe of Phoebe’s friend, he thinks to himself, “God, I love it when a kid’s nice and polite when you tighten their skate for them or something. Most kids are.” (133) - this is much more gentle, heartening behavior to see in Holden, yet it creates nowhere for Holden to go but down, as he is only growing up and can never retrieve his
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