Catcher in the Rye Word Choice Essay

803 Words Jan 28th, 2014 4 Pages
Word Choice in The Catcher in the Rye
By Tom Condon

Word choice is a crucial element in a well-crafted story. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is about a 16-year-old in New York in the 1950's named Holden Caulfield. The book is about his exploration in the world as he suffers from severe mental trauma from his point of view. J.D. Salinger uses word choice for realism, theme, and depth of character to make the story relate to the reader and add dimension. The Catcher in Rye contains many distinct characters, and the dialogue and inner thought are crucial in the reader’s view of them. The word choice is one of the key components in displaying the character’s personality, and makes them into a round character. Holden is the
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Without that the wording really just sounds unrealistic and awkward. If Salinger had Holden using words that didn't sound like they might come from a 16-year-old in the 1950's nobody would really be absorbed into the story. The wording also sounds real in the realm of the setting. “Boy, she was lousy with rocks” (Salinger 55). “'Well, don't get sore...nobody's sore'”(82). His language really fits the time period. It shows how people talked at the time of the book's release with phrases and words that were popular in the 1950's. This use of slang and talk from the time period also help show Holden's naïve nature. Themes are very clear in Catcher in the Rye, and this is partially due to the author's choice of words. One major theme is “phoniness of the adult world”. Holden commonly notices conformity, hypocrisy, and shallowness in people. The dialogue of these people is a key component to Holden's analysis. They use words such as “grand” that really show this in themselves. “Grand. If there's on word I hate, it's grand. For a second, I was tempted to tell her to forget about the matinee” (106). During that time period society had a very distinct shallow “everything is just swell” kind of attitude, and Holden really observes that well via people's dialogue. Despite all of Holden's astute observations he does tend to act “phony” in front of people from time to time. He notices it by his word choice as he

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