Grief For Allie in The Catcher In The Rye by J.D Salinger

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Almost every person will have to say goodbye to a loved one who has died. When an adolescent goes through this experience it could traumatize them. John Green once said “Grief does not change you. It reveals you.” In other words, the loss of a loved one doesn’t change who you are but reveals your character. A novel that explores the effect of grief on a young person is The Catcher In The Rye by J.D Salinger. The Catcher In The Rye is a novel about a teenager, Holden Caulfield, who is confused and makes life changing mistakes because of his inability to accept his brother Allie’s death. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross made up the five stages of grief. The stages are denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. Holden goes through these five stages throughout the novel. Salinger uses the baseball mitt, the red hunting hat, and the carousel to explore the protagonist struggle to resolve his grief. Allie’s baseball mitt is a very important symbol in the novel. It is connected to the novel, because the heart of the novel is Holden's grief over his brother's death and his inability to accept it. When Holden finds out that his brother Allie died, he is in denial because he refuses to accept Allie’s death. Holden is in denial because he thinks why his innocent brother had to die and not him. Because Holden needs help dealing with this grief he must always take out the mitt, and acknowledge his feelings over Allie in order to release himself from the guilt he feels. When Holden’s roommate at Pencey, Stradlater, asks him to write a descriptive essay, Holden writes about Allie’s baseball mitt. Holden treats the mitt differentially, taking it with him to Pencey and copying “down the poems that were written on it” (Salinger 38). For Holden, t... ... middle of paper ... ...onal confusion comes his inability to accept his brother Allie’s premature death. Through characterization, symbolism, and internal and external conflict, Salinger uses the baseball mitt, the red hunting hat, and the carousel to explore the protagonist struggle to resolve his grief. Works Cited Alsen, Eberhard. "The Catcher in the Rye." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 30 Mar. 2014 Miller, Edwin Haviland. “In Memoriam: Allie Caulfield.” Holden Caulfield. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York. Chelsea House, 1990. Print. Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1991. Print. Strauch, Carl F. “Kings in the Back Row: Meaning through Structure-A Reading of Salinger's `The Catcher in the Rye’.” Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature. Winter, (1961). 5-30. Literature Resource Center. New York Public Library. Web. 24 April 2008.
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