Alienation In The Catcher In The Rye By J. D. Salinger

Decent Essays
The theme of alienation is depicted through the main character Holden Caulfield, in the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Jerome David Salinger was born on January 1, 1919 (Wenke). Salinger pursued his dream of becoming a writer by graduating from Columbia University (“Catcher”). The Catcher in the Rye is the representation of Salinger’s childhood and adolescence, which he claimed “...in a 1953 interview with Shirley Blahly… ‘his boyhood was very much the same as [Holden Caulfield’s], and it was a great relief telling people about it”’(Wenke 123). Since little is known about Salinger’s childhood, critics believe that he and Holden are one person (Wenke). Holden is an isolated teen who alienates himself from the outside world, …show more content…
For instance at the end of his date with Sally, he leaves her alone and goes about his life as if nothing happened between them (Trowbridge). But in the same way, Sally abandoned him which Holden explains when he says, “She kept telling me to go away and leave her alone. So finally I did it”(Salinger 149). On the contrary, Whissen claims that Holden forcefully alienates himself “... by choice, sometimes because he cannot stand the company of others, sometimes because he becomes disappointed with their company, and sometimes because his actions seem calculated to drive others away”(53). An overall factor of Holden’s choice to isolate himself from others is the genuine reasoning on why he feels alienated. Furthermore, Holden is unique and sticks out by being, “...confined to his era, unable to connect the dots from those cliques to a larger society that might merit some rearrangement”(Whitfield). Since he does not fit within what society said was absolute, he feels left out due to his …show more content…
Salinger expresses how alienation is a common theme through the protagonist Holden Caulfield. From the beginning Holden’s personality and the way he treated people was a great component to why he was alienated. He was never good at maintaining a strong relationship with someone and he always found a way to drive people away. Holden could never be fully fulfilled with a person’s presence. This gives leeway to his isolation. Corresponding to his alienation, Holden is always left out of his “friend group” and his parents never gave him a gratifying amount of attention.Since the only thing he is familiar with is abandonment, he resolves to isolating himself from the reality, that he is trying to avoid. As a result from his feeling of desolation, he penetrates depression into being the only thing that can turn to. Consequently, Holden shows that alienation can lead into something much bigger that can cause a great impact on a person’s

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