Catcher In The Rye Rhetorical Analysis Essay

1049 Words 5 Pages
Through the iconic voice of Holden Caulfield, an estranged adolescent, one hears a cry for help emerge from the clouds of depression so effortlessly that nearly everyone, regardless of background, relates. As evident within J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, and particularly during chapter 20, Salinger utilizes casual diction, relatable syntax, and a symbolic setting to convey Holden’s great dejection and introspection about death itself. With such a strong rhetorical technique as this, Salinger appeals to the empathy of the audience and creates a nearly universal cult-following for Holden. Although undeservingly idealized, Holden’s struggle to find meaning and happiness in this passage suggests a greater, underlying aspect throughout …show more content…
Each sentence of Holden’s flows together extremely well, as one can almost hear the unsure adolescent speak of his troubles in a sincere, clear voice. In addition, terms such as “and all” at the ends of sentences and “anyways” at the beginnings exhibit a powerful use of filler words and phrases commonly associated with teenage rhetoric (170, 171). A sling of run-on sentences serve the same purpose; these elements combat the usual formality associated with autobiographies and convey a more authentic reality of a disturbed, teenage boy’s internal thinking. On another note, Salinger commonly uses dashes as opposed to commas for emphasis and interjecting yet clarifying clauses in description, a conscious choice illustrating the disjointed reality of Holden’s storytelling. At one point, Holden strays from the normality of autobiography by directly acknowledging the audience, stating that “if you’d known [Allie], you’d know what [Holden means]” when he proclaims that he wishes Allie were not in the cemetery. Unconventional for a formal work of writing, Salinger strengthens his already emotionally-charged literature with punctuation and sentence structures reflecting not conventional grammatical structure, but rather the true rhetoric of Holden …show more content…
When he first drunkenly tumbles into its vicinity, he claims to “know Central Park like the back of [his] hand, because [he] used to roller-skate there all the time and ride [his] bike when [he] was a kid,” but fearfully wanders around attempting unproductively to find the lagoon (170). Since Holden associated this park so greatly with his innocence and childhood happiness, seeing the icy location without the eyes of sobriety could be associated with the death of his virtue and therefore caused him to think of death in general. Most likely the location contains many beautiful memories with Allie, his late but idealized brother, which causes Holden to reminisce on the lost events they once cherished and therefore to recall the funeral and cemetery. Holden cannot stand the cemetery, for he could not comprehend the act of leaving someone behind when he has the privilege of exiting, claiming that “I know it’s only his body and all that’s in the cemetery,... but I couldn’t stand it anyway” (172). Since introspective passages often occurs throughout the novel, one cannot be surprised to find that Holden, physically, is located at one setting, the park, but mentally wanders from place to place, particularly the cemetery. Because of this overwhelming rumination, Holden cannot stand to remain

Related Documents