Analysis Of The Catcher In The Rye

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In 2003, Thomas C. Foster wrote How to Read Literature Like a Professor as a guide for students to develop strong literary analytical skills and to become well read. He discusses topics such as literary and rhetorical devices and how to approach a piece of writing. Fifty two years prior to How to Read Lit.’s publication, J.D. Salinger wrote The Catcher in the Rye, a fiction novel following the quests of Holden Caulfield, an adolescent trying to find his place in the world. Three of the most significant devices Foster discusses are flight, illness, and symbolism; all present in Salinger’s novel. With substantial evidence, strong analytical skills, and a critical reading of The Catcher, Foster’s claims regarding literary analysis can be proven…show more content…
Foster’s most prominent assertion in the chapter is that flight is freedom. “Not only from specific circumstances but from those more general burdens that tie us down.” (Foster 135.) He also claims that surviving a fall is as “miraculous and meaningful as flight itself.” (Foster 139.) The Catcher’s protagonist Holden thinks and asks about the local lagoon’s springtime ducks throughout the novel. Only the novel is set during the winter, therefore the ducks are gone. The ducks flew away from the new brutal environment. Holden switches schools and wanders around New York because he wishes to fly away from his new troubles involving sexuality, identification and true kindness. However, flight always comes with a fall, or at least a landing. Towards the end of the story Holden decides to visit his former teacher and wise, intellectual friend Mr. Antolini to seek a clearer perspective on the adult world he is entering. Before his visits Mr. A., he stops to see his kid sister Phoebe. When Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to do with his life his response is to be the catcher in the rye. “I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye...And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy…show more content…
Towards the end of Holden’s quests in The Catcher, he becomes very cold and feels as if he contracted a case of pneumonia. Pneumonia is a disease that damages the lungs filling them with bacteria and pus. Lungs are supposed to take in air. Instead, Holden has been taking in all the evil, filth, and ignorance in the world. The author chose to reference pneumonia because Holden is physically and emotionally taking filth into his body. Likewise, Holden experiences the disgusted need to vomit on numerous occasions. Foster chose the disgusted vomit feeling for a reason. Holden is disgusted with society. Mr. A. knows that Holden is disgusted with society so he tells him: “you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior.” (Salinger 208.) Holden has this constant unpleasant feeling in his stomach because he believes humanity itself is quite unpleasant. The last major illness Salinger gives Holden are his flecks of gray hair.“I have gary hair. I really do. The one side of my head-the right side-is full of millions of gray hairs.

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