Theme Of Loss In Catcher In The Rye

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Pain and loss affect people differently, but it is these emotions that allow people to feel compassion and empathy. Every experience in life, every heartache, every joy, plays a hand in shaping a person. Nowhere else is this more evident than in, J.D. Salinger’s novel, the Catcher in the Rye. In his novel, the main character Holden Caulfield experiences painful loss during a pivotal time in his life, which shapes his personality and his outlook on the world. Holden’s loss turns him into a bitter, sarcastic teen, with a penchant for protecting the innocent. J.D. Salinger’s the Catcher in the Rye utilizes casual diction, pessimistic tone and symbols of innocence to portray the effects of traumatic loss during adolescence.
Holden loses his younger
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The use of profanity also speaks to Holden’s personality and bitterness. He constantly uses “goddam” and “hell” whenever he is frustrated or talking about decisions or adults. However, he never uses the f-word. The f-word only appears as writing on the walls of Phoebe’s school. Holden wants to erase all the “fuck yous” off the wall. He says “If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the ‘Fuck you’ signs in the world. It’s impossible” (Salinger 202). Although Holden acknowledges the impossibility, he still wants to protect all the innocent children from the vulgarity of adulthood. He wants to be the catcher in the rye, catching children before they fall off the cliff into adulthood. Allie was Holden’s catcher. To Holden, Allie was the epitome of innocence and the purity of life, but when he died, Holden’s outlook on life shifted towards a darker tone. Allie’s passing sparked Holden’s preoccupation with death. He says, “I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something” (Salinger 155). Holden’s tone is pessimistic, he believes in life after death for Allie, but for himself, he could care …show more content…
Salinger includes certain scenes in the book that portray Holden’s personality and the effects of Allie’s death. By transitioning into adulthood, Holden is leaving behind his brother. He says, “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody 'd move “(Salinger 121). Holden wants his life to be like a museum, where nothing changes and everything is predictable. Holden fights against the tide of change. He goes out of his way to hold onto anything related to childhood; he wants to be a protector of children and innocence. Children do everything for pure enjoyment: D.B.’s short stories about the secret goldfish, the little kid “singing just for the hell of it” and the “Little Shirley Beans” record which “was about a little kid that wouldn’t go out of the house because two of her front teeth were out” (Salinger 114, 115). J.D. Salinger includes these items to portray the effect of Allie’s death on Holden. Allie’s death was a catalyst. Holden became obsessed with the concept of purity and virtue. His only positive feelings are projected onto young kids and he only likes to remember people as they once were. For instance, D.B.’s short stories are the ones Holden likes to recall and talk about. All the stories D.B. writes as an adult are for money, which Holden disapproves of, by calling D.B. a ‘prostitute’. Holden’s way of rejecting change is by holding onto memories like D.B’s secret goldfish, which was written for pure

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