What Is The Theme Of Isolation In Catcher In The Rye

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“The Catcher in the Rye” was published in 1951 by J.D Salinger. The novel centers on the main protagonist heading towards isolation and alienation from society and death. The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, recounts his days when he was expelled from Pencey University to the day he arrived to his parent’s house. Caulfield starts his novel by telling us that he “was flunking four subjects and not applying [himself] and all” at Pencey University (4). Desiring some communication, Caulfield visits his history teacher, Mr. Spencer, to talk about his expulsion. During his visit, Mr. Spencer says that “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game the one plays according to the rules” (12). Caulfield responds by saying “Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on…show more content…
The nuns are the few people that Caulfield actually feel comfortable to have a conversation. Caulfield and the nuns talk about literature, mainly Romeo and Juliet. Caulfield slowly satisfies his need for human companionship but is still alienated from society. After meeting the nuns, Caulfield wants to meet up with and go on a date with Sally Hayes, a girl he has known for a very long time but does not know if he is attracted to her or not. The two go ice skating and afterwards Caulfield requests an ultimatum. He first requests that they both ran away together to “Vermont or Massachusetts”, live in “cabin camps until the dough runs out then get jobs” and would eventually get married (171). Sally kindly declines Caulfield’s offer and tried to talk some sense into him but Caulfield was being rude and calls her a pain ass, causing Sally to leave…show more content…
Caulfield begins to rant about how he was kicked out of school and how he hates school overall. Phoebe gets mad at him for not taking anything seriously and how he hates everything. Caulfield then begins to tell Phoebe that his fantasy was to become “the catcher in the rye”. But, Phoebe insisted that he did not remember the poem that he read a while back correctly. Besides that, Caulfield seeks counseling from his former English teacher, Mr. Antolini, about what he should do with his life in this current situation. Unfortunately, Mr. Antolini sees that Caulfield is exhausted and pushes him to go to sleep. Once Caulfield woke up, he misinterpreted the situation as Mr. Antolini was rubbing his forehead and quickly leaves, receiving absolutely no help as he would have hoped. At the brink of giving up, Caulfield calls in his sister saying that he will forever leave and not come back but should at least have lunch together once more before he does. They meet at a museum and Phoebe insists that she comes along, but he angrily denies her request. Since Caulfield had a feeling that Phoebe would follow him around anyways, he went to a zoo and buys her a ticket to ride

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