Motifs In Catcher In The Rye

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Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help develop and inform the text 's major themes. One of the recurring themes in the novel The Catcher in the Rye is the omnipresent theme of death. It could be argued that the novel is not only full of references to death in the literal sense, physical disappearance, but also in the metaphorical, taking the form of spiritual disappearance, something which Holden often focuses on, along with the actual theme of mortality. It is possible that this occurs because of his reluctance to interact with the living world. As his means of escaping from the reality he despises, his mundane thoughts and the “phoniness” that he is surrounded by. Holden becomes increasingly attracted…show more content…
His brother’s death however was not his only literal encounter with death. The second death was that of James Castle, Holden’s Classmate at Elkton Hills School. He jumped out of the window when he was mercilessly bullied by some classmates of his and ended up dying. “He was dead, and his teeth, and blood, were all over the place. He had on this turtleneck sweater I 'd lent him” (Salinger 2010 : 92), although Holden didn 't know James well enough his death still left a mark on him. Readers can sense that Holden in some way admires this boy for committing suicide in this situation. He romanticizes his death and reveres him as a saint, like Mercutio and the nuns--those who martyr themselves or the good life for a noble or humble cause. At some point, he imagines killing himself by jumping out the window like Castle, but he cannot bear the thought of lying dead on the streets with a crowd of people gathering to look at his body."I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would 've done it, too, if I 'd been sure somebody 'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn 't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory". (Salinger 2010 : 58) Holden seems to think that it is better to die young than to become an adult materialist like his parents, brother, and nearly every adult he meets. In this case death act as a symbol of freedom, a gateway, a relief from one’s troubles and responsibilities, this is its very quality that at times caused Holden to consider it…show more content…
This is clearly seen on the occasion of his interaction with Mr. Antolini who as soon as he made an affectionate move towards Holden, he labelled him as a pervert and wished to be known as deaf-mute thereon, a metaphorical death, "I 'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. That way I wouldn 't have to have any goddam stupid useless conversations with
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