Catcher In The Rye Materialism Analysis

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Writers in American Literature use their work to allude to society’s materialistic and consumeristic nature and how it has taken hold of citizens, corrupting various facets of their lives. So much of American society is based on materialistic possessions that it can have drastic repercussions on individuals. In society one’s value is based upon their tangible possessions and income is used as a means to group people together and create a societal hierarchy of worth. Jiang Jiang, a research analysis, and his comrades contributed to a series of studies exploring the correlation of peer-rejection, self-esteem issues, and materialism concluding, “Peer rejection is closely connected to adolescent materialism, and self-esteem is a mediator of this …show more content…
Further exemplifying how American writers adapt such concepts of materialism into their work is the character Holden from J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is a teenager with heightened emotions and past traumatic experiences weighing him down. Throughout the novel he repeatedly states how much he despises “phonies”, fake people, or people who place too much importance on tactile substances rather then actual self-attributes (Salinger, 8). Having experienced his brother’s death at a relatively young age, Holden strives to find purpose in a world he sees as overpopulated with “phonies”. Struggling to deal emotionally with his brother’s passing and attempting to understand what has happened and why, he turns his frustrations on society. He is able to see those around him for who they really are, “phonies” conforming to society's corrupt ideals and allowing them to take hold of their lives. Salinger demonstrates how traumatic events and life changes can lead to deeper insight of society, one’s self, and one’s surrounds. Americans are conditioned from a young age to value certain ideals and attributes, more specifically, wealth and material

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