The Catcher in the Rye is a first person narrative told through the eyes of the protagonist, Holden Caulfield. He begins his story in the style of a psychoanalytic project in which Caulfield will tell on his own terms. This limits the scope of the story to only what Holden wants to talk about. This, coupled with his mercurial changes of mood, his stubborn refusal to admit his own sensitive-ness and emotions, his cheerful disregard of what is sometimes known as reality—which is expected of an adolescent—lend him to be a suspect and unreliable. Further more, there is the issue of his mental instability revealed in his experiences. For example, after waking up in Grand Central, Holden wanders around sweaty and delusional. He explains, “Every time I’d get to the end of a block I’d make believe I was talking to my brother Allie. I’d say to him, ‘Allie, don’t let me disappear. Allie, don’t let me disappear. Allie, don’t let me disappear. Please, Allie.’ And then when I’d reach the other side of the street without disappearing, I’d thank him” (p.257).
This is a clear example of a psychotic episode because he is compulsively repeated the same phrase to someone who has been dead for four years in the book on a topic that doesn’t make any sense. This is what Holden refers to as “madman stuff,” so even he realizes that. Basically, Holden is a far more unreliable narrator than even Huck Finn, the compulsive liar. At the same time, the novel focuses on the narrator’s inner perceptions, solipsistic attitude, and alienation from the community; therefore, the work offers detailed insight into the protagonists’ deepest characteristics as oppose to reliable events of the plot. The point of view of the work shows the reader that the focal point of the story is Holden himself—a modern style.
Catcher In The Rye – Holden's Breakdown Catcher In The Rye – Holden's Breakdown Holden? s Breakdown 10/1/99? It? s not the last straw which broke the camel? s back. ? In J. D. Salinger? s, Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, has many mental breakdowns. Though it may not have been one solitary event that pushed him off the edge, the one thing that started the whole ...
He engages the reader directly by address him or her. The second word in the novel is “you” for a reason. The structure of the text allows the reader to be intimate with the protagonist as if the two were having a conversation. In turn, the text can be seen as being a creation of the narrator itself. On this topic, critics often argue as to whether Holden is talking or writing to the reader. Many feel that Holden is conversing with the reader because the entire work is written colloquially and Caulfield uses phrases like, “If you really want to hear about it…”(p.3) in which the narrator appeals to the reader’s auditory sense. Those who feel that it is a written work argue that it’s colloquial style is due to the intimate subjects Holden explores; therefore, he should be far from formal and write in a journal-like style that is expected of his age. As for his use of “hear,” they could be seen as figures of speech. Many sympathetic to this argument also bring up the quote, “…and I have gray hair. I really do. The one side of my head–the right side–is full of millions of gray hairs.” (p. 13).
It’s peculiar for Holden to phrase it like that if he were speaking to the reader because he would merely say, “I have gray hair, see?” and point to his head. So his lack of addressing visual senses leads some critics to believe he is writing. In either case, the fictional story gives birth to the text because it is seen as something created by Holden, whether written or spoken, adding another dimension of realism—a post-modernist aspect.
The narrative gives meaningful insight into Holden’s character and involves the reader, but also, it might have a purpose for Holden, too. It is not so far fetched to speculate that the narrative is meant to be therapeutic to the narrator since he is in a sanitarium. The method in which Holden recounts the events is comparable to a patient on a psychoanalyst’s couch because he is not only in control of the content, but also juxtaposes observations of people and events with digressive ideas in his mind. In this sense, the text is more true to a candid recollection than one that is pre-meditated, controlled, and prepared. This aspect as well gives the work an added dimension of authenticity.
Choose one every day and one literary text. Using at least two analytical techniques from E301, analyze and compare your two texts in terms of their creativity and literariness, drawing on material from both parts of the module. In this paper I will analyze and compare a literary text and an everyday text, in terms of their creativity and literariness. I chose Philip Larkin’s (1964) poem, ‘Self’s ...
The point of view of the text gives life to the novel as a whole. It engages the reader, gives itself an origin and even gives itself meaning to the characters within.