Essay On Alienation In Catcher In The Rye

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Alienation is highly important in “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger in order to shape J.D Salinger’s characters. Alienation is a theme throughout the novel used to shape characters and their personalities. Some characters alienate themselves as a form of protection such as Holden Caulfield. Whereas others accidentally alienate another character like Holden’s parents do to Holden and some, like Ackley, are oblivious to the fact that they are alienated by others and by doing certain things themselves. Each characters reasons for alienation helps to shape each character and make them have a reason as to why they are in the novel.

Holden Caulfield alienates himself in the Catcher in the Rye in order to protect himself. He alienated himself from people to make sure that he wont have the chance to feel the pain or rejection like he did when his brother Allie died. He also uses his protective instinct of alienation as a way of proving he is better then everybody else therefore above associating and communicating with them. “I don’t even know what I was running from for – I guess I just felt like it” (page 4). Holden was literally running to his teacher’s house but he was metaphorically running away from feelings and human interaction. Alienation is important in shaping Holden as it portrays Holden as being odd and pessimistic but also underlying that deep down he is crying our for help due to his pain he feels after loosing Allie and his destructive behaviour of isolating himself.

Holdens’ self alienation is not only a protective mechanism but it is also a way that Holden reassured himself that adults are phonies and that he wasn’t. “This is a people shooting hat,” I said. “I shoot people in this hat”” (page 17-18). It is see...

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...from outside disturbances and distractions which is a reason to alienate himself. This shapes Holden in a sense to know how to act responsibly and to being thoughtful of others as he is trying to protect children from the adult word, which he sees as “phony”.

In J.D Salinger’s novel, Catcher in the Rye, alienation is used to portray and shape characters in the novel. Each character has a different role in showing the importance of alienation in understanding Holden’s character. Alienation is the act of isolating ones self and that is what shape characters in the novel. Holden’s alienation is a coping and self protection mechanism from being hurt and rejected from Allies death where as Ackley’s self alienation is due to not following accepted norms such as being clean. Alienation in Catcher in the Rye is important in showing different themes through out the novel.
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