Alienation and Isolation in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
700 WordsFeb 18th, 20183 Pages
Salinger discusses the ideas of alienation and isolation. He notes that if one is unable to keep up with society they lose touch. Salinger portrays alienation and isolation through literary devices such as symbolism. Some of the symbolic features use in the novel is Holden’s red hunting hat which shows Holden’s uncommon desire compared to society’s desires. Another significant symbolic feature is the catcher in the rye; this represents Holden’s idea of protecting children from maturing as adults and facing reality. Another literary device is tone, although Holden seems preoccupied, he constantly tries to seek companionship throughout the book. J.D. Salinger also portrays irony, it is ironic that Holden calls the people around him loners and phonies when he, himself is a loner and a phony that refuses to accept taking on responsibilities and growing up. The literary devices used in this novel, further support Salinger’s recurring theme of alienation and isolation.
One of the literary devices in this novel is symbolism. Holden’s red hunting hat is the symbolic feature that alienates him from society. Ackley tells Holden “Up home we wear a hat like that to shoot deer in, for Chrissake… That’s a deer shooting hat” (Salinger 30), meaning Holden’s hat is only worn while hunting. Holden does not seem to care much for Ackley’s opinion and he wears it anyways. This shows Holden’s individuality and his uncommon desire compared…
Holden's Lonliness Catcher In the Rye
- Length: 600 words (1.7 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
Many young people often find themselves struggling to find their own identity and place in society. This search for self worth often leaves these young people feeling lonely and isolated because they are unsure of themselves. Holden Caulfield, J.D. Salinger's main character in the book The Catcher In the Rye, is young man on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. One contributor to this breakdown, is the loneliness that Holden experiences. His loneliness is apparent through many ways including: his lack of friends, his longing for his dead brother, and the way he attempts to gain acceptance from others.
To Holden, everyone is either corny of phony. He uses these terms to describe what a person is if they do not act naturally and follow other people?s manners and grace. Holden dislikes phonies and thinks of them as people who try to be something they are not. He loathes people who showed off because it seems unnatural every time they do not act like themselves. Holden does not allow himself to have friendship because of his dull attitude. In the beginning of the book, the reader knows that Holden is lonely when he separates himself from the rest of the Pencey students by watching the football game from Thomsen Hill and not the grand stands. Holden is not a very sociable person partly because he finds himself better than many others. He dislikes his roommate because of his generic leather luggage. His next door roommate Ackley does not seem to want a friendship with him either. Holden finds Ackely?s zit crusted face ridiculous and doesn?t want him in his room at first. This shows the reader that Holden is a lonely person because he chooses to be lonely and does not want anything to do with people who do not fit into his perception of normal.
Holden?s loneliness is apparent in more than just his lack of friends. His loneliness is made apparent by the way he misses his deceased brother, Allie. Holden makes several references to Allie and how the two used to get along and acted more like friends than brothers. Holden deeply misses his brother and even talks to him out loud to comfort himself because he still feels a void inside of him. Holden misses his brother more than others because Holden never had the final closure to his brother?s death, Holden never went to Allie?s funeral, and because Holden didn?
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t get to say his good-bye, he is left feeling like Allie should still be there with him even though he is gone. By not letting go of Allie, it is visible to the reader how lonely he is because Allie was one of the only people with whom Holden could talk to openly about his life.
Holden?s loneliness is also portrayed through his ways of trying to gain acceptance from others. He tries all he can to fit in. He drinks, curses and criticizes life in general to make it seem as if he was very knowing of these habits. When he says he does not care about how people think he looks when he wears his hunting cap, he attempts to be accepted by acting as phoney as he believes most other people are.
Holden?s loneliness is brought onto himself because he chooses to be lonely. His sole reason for this is because he has yet to find what his place is in society. This causes him to be unsure of himself and his defence mechanism to this fear of the unknown is his relentless accusations of the ?phoneyness? and his continued loneliness.