Catcher in the Rye Essay: The Need for Control

Catcher in the Rye Essay: The Need for Control

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Need for Control in Catcher in the Rye   

With his work, The Catcher in the Rye  J. D. Salinger created a literary piece that was completely unique. The entire novel was written from the first person viewpoint of the 17-year-old boy Holden Caulfield. The majority of the story is compiled of Holden's rudimentary monologue of “complexly simple” thoughts, the rest utilizing his relay of previous dialogue. That, along with the use of unique punctuation, digressing explanations, and complex characterization, transforms the simple plot into a complex literary classic. The novel's dialogue and monologue alike manage to relay the feel of natural speaking such as "I mean you'd be different in some way - I can't explain what I mean." The contractions “you'd” and “can't”, since they are common in everyday language, establish a very common and simple tone. Stress on the first syllable of "different" reinforces the tone by demonstrating how typically they speak. He uses dashes for pauses and the signaling of associative digressions. Instead of for signaling pauses, commas are used only where mechanically required. "So all of a sudden, I ran like a madman across the street - I d*** near got myself killed doing it, if you want to know the truth - and went in this stationary store and bought a pad and pencil." ***CITE THIS???***

           Holden Caulfield creates a thought-provoking point of view. On the surface, many of his thought patterns seem unrelated and stray from the topic. His association of topic with digression is used almost constantly throughout the novel. However, realizing that these digressions are very relevant and even crucial to the topic, he allows the reader to gain true insight into the character. His statements ...

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... His being the lone "big" person expresses his desire of being in control. The playing in the rye field next to a crazy cliff would depict the nearness to his fall while being oblivious to the danger. His one wish is to be able to prevent this, to be in control. Then, after establishing his wishes, he considers it impossible by expressing thoughts of it's craziness. He has resolved that he cannot be in control, but it is all he wants. In a world before alternatives to his painful lifestyle, what can Holden do but blindly play the game in the rye field, right beside his cliff of sanity. "But life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one must play by the rules."


Bibliography 3rd edition Psychology (Bernstein-Stewart, Roy, Srull, & Wickens) Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, Massachusetts 1994




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