catcher in the rye

1063 Words5 Pages
Hello, is Salinger There? J. D. Salinger’s only published full-length novel, The Catcher in the Rye, has become one of the most enduring classics of American literature. The novel’s story is told in retrospect by the main character, Holden Caulfield, while staying in a psychiatric hospital in California. This is a coming of age tale that is wrought with irony. Holden Caulfield, Mr. Antolini, and Phoebe are the main symbols of irony. The first and most obvious subject of irony is the novel’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield. His hatred for anything “phony” is ironic because he to is deceitful. He is constantly performing by taking a new identity for each new situation he is in. For example, in the train scene he makes up stories about one of his classmates in order to delight his classmate’s mother. He not only initiates a new identity for himself, but he also spawns a whole new fictional account of life at Pencey Prep. He even admits that he is an impressive liar. Because of his hatred for anything artificial, he searches for something real. In his naïve and desperate way he is searching for anything which is innocent and sincere (Parker 300). He fantasizes about removing himself from society and becoming a reclusive deaf mute. Regardless of his independent personality, he clearly demonstrates how severely he needs companionship. His thoughts are always of his sister, Jane Gallagher, and additional people. Another fantasy of Holden’s is to be the “catcher” of children’s innocence. Holden’s fantasy elaborates his obsession with innocence and his perhaps surprisingly moral code (Walters 1009). However, it is clear that his real desire is to be salvaged from the emptiness of his negativism. This is realized when he telephones Mr. Antolini and when he admits that he almost hopes that his parents will catch him as he sneaks out of the apartment. The Catcher, in fact, wants to be caught, the saviour saved (Engle 45). Mr. Antolini is the subject of irony because he is actually a “catcher,” even though he is a different kind of catcher from the one Holden imagines. Holden believes that he has already fallen over the cliff into the dissatisfaction that automatically goes together with adulthood. He felt the world has let him slip trough the cracks alone and unassisted. Therefor... ... middle of paper ... ... Holden states: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author who wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it” (Salinger 18). J.D. Salinger is not available for phone conversations, but generations of readers have felt that the book alone provides that kind of close connection with its author (Guinn). Works cited Engle, Steven, ed. “Symbolism in The Catcher in the Rye.” Readings on The Catcher in the Rye. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1998. 44-50. Guinn, Jeff. “Rye relevance 50 Years Ago.” Fort Worth Star Telegram. 5 August 2001. Parker, Peter, ed. “The Catcher in the Rye.” A readers Guide to the Twentieth Century Novel. New York: Oxford, 1995. 299-300. Rollins, Jill. “The Catcher in the Rye.” Cyclopedia of Literary characters Revised Edition. Ed. Magill, Frank M. Pasadena: Salem, 1998. Vol. 1. 301. Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991. Walters, Gordon. “The Catcher in the Rye.” Masterplots Revised Second Edition. Ed. Magill, Frank N. Pasadena: Salem, 1996. Vol. 2. 1008-1009.

More about catcher in the rye

Open Document