Catcher in the Rye as a Symbolic of Salinger’s Life

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Through the years of ancient civilization and culture, two things were always evident and emphasized to the common people; life is hard and death is the inevitable consequence of life. This was the primary focus of different religions of the ancient world to provide a way of life that not only accept the hard truth of life but also teaches how to live life to its fullest. Similarly, Salinger in her book Catcher in the Rye develops her major themes and characters through death itself. Although, this is a merely a piece of the fiction it conveys a similar message to the reader as Holden Caulfield experiences the death of his brother which not only changed him forever but also developed his personality. With the introduction of death, Salinger develops it as its own theme during the story while representing it as a sole cause for how the events unfolded as they did throughout the book. Thus, Allier’s death illuminated Catcher in the Rye in two key ways: first, to construct and develop Holdenr’s morals and character and second, to develop the main theme of innocence in the story.

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Primarily, Allier’s death not only depressed Holden but deeply affected him which lead to the creation of his absurd morals and his dynamic character. Holden was noted recalling his brother as thousand times nicer than the people you know thatre alive and all and went as far as to suggest that he should be the one dead not his brother (Salinger 117). His feelings towards his brother were of pure love and appreciation and looked upon him as a role model even after his death. Therefore, Allier’s death was such a shock to Holden it caused him to break all the windows in the garage and also caused him to rethink his situation and of others around him (Salinger 39). Since then Holden was a changed man from his attitude, to his perspective on life, Allier’s death provided a justification for Holdenr’s crazy worldview. His hate for ?phonies is created from Holden, who couldnt overcome his brotherr’s death, looking at adults around him who cry about movies and plays but when confronted with the death of someone loved would suggest getting over it.

Holden views this ideology both as hypocritical and flawed and through Allier’s death sees him as the catcher in the rye who is destined to preserve innocence from the world. This idea is further linked with him being a teenager, a stage between childhood and the adult world, where he dislikes the adult world and serves to preserve childhood shown through his compassion Phoebe. Another example would be Holden fantasizing about his death claiming to have been pretending I had a bullet in my gut and recalled many instances in which he saw suicide as a way to find relief from his situation and is actually giving importance to his life through his death (Salinger 165). The Holden created from his brotherr’s death is one with some similarity but many major differences with its goal to protect innocence in the world especially through children as he sees them as the most innocent from all. These characteristics of Holden are developed due to Allier’s Death help not only establish the theme of death itself but also serves to illuminate dynamic characters such as Holden Caulfield.

Consequently, Allier’s death causes Holden to preserve innocence in the world which further outlines the theme of innocence and illuminates the metaphor of the ?catcher in the rye.

Distraught by Allier’s death, Holden decides to keep Allier’s glove from all the other things he could have chosen he chose a mere glove. Well, this is because he saw himself as the ?catcher in the rye and imagined thousands of little children around nobody big, I mean- except me and it was his dream to catch children falling down (Salinger 224). He sees himself ?catching children from being himself miserable, depressed and thinks it is better for them to always be innocent. Similarly, he expects someone to catch him and alludes Allie requesting him not to let me disappear (Salinger 257). Thus, it was most convenient for him to pick up Allier’s glove as a memoir which symbolized his goal to preserve innocence and also reminded him through difficult times that his brother is there for him. He quickly learns through multiple instances in the book that itr’s impossible to ?catch all the children and either one has to live with it or not (Salinger 205). The reason Holden is overprotective with children also relates to him hating the adult world and the cruelty, artificiality it brings while cherishing innocence and people who protect it. This view broadens the personality of characters such as Jane and Phoebe who protect innocence in Janer’s case it is sexual assault while in Phoebe case it is the adult world. The theme of innocence is only presented and caused due to Allier’s death which indicates that Salinger only meant to represent Allier’s death to broaden ideas further down the story. Thus, it is evident to suggest that Allier’s death is a major scene in the book as it expresses the theme of innocence and broadens the perspective of the title and the extended metaphor of the ?catcher in the rye.

Death, the inevitable truth of life, is one experienced over 7000 times each day alone in the United States. While the reasons might range from diseases to natural cause, death itself comes with grief making loved ones depressed. Although some people get over the deaths of their loved, however many like Holden face difficulties getting through this difficult type changing them drastically over time. Salinger uses this harsh reality of death to not only represent the death of Allie himself but to illuminate her book Catcher in the Rye through certain characteristics and morals of Holden while developing a major theme of innocence. But, the effect of death is not limited to the book itself and might itself be related to the author J.D. Salinger himself. Upon closer analysis of his life, one finds that he too was admitted into a prep school when he was a teen and had a peculiar distaste for them as he too never fit into them. He later was admitted into an army school similar to Holden who would also do the same if the story continued suggesting that Holden and Salinger are the same people. This speculation also comes from the fact that he has repeatedly sued many biographers for making any biographies on him and suggest it as an attack in his personal matters. If Holden and Salinger are the same people then it is plausible that Salinger itself encountered multiple deaths in his life and if so was simply expressing his views through the Catcher in Rye. If so the metaphor of the catcher in the rye might extend and the theme of death might be symbolic of his life making Catcher in the Rye his half-written biography.

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Catcher in the Rye As A symbolic of Salinger's life. (2019, May 28). Retrieved January 28, 2023 , from
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