The Theme In Catcher In The Rye

Words: 1166
Pages: 5

AP Literature
24 March, 2017
The Catcher and the Rye
The major theme in the novel the catch and the rye is ‘alienation as a way of self-protection’. Holden, the main character, undergoes estrangement throughout the story, as he appears to distance himself from the surrounding world. He faces distressful situations that expose him to victimization and exclusion by the immediate environment. As a result, he chooses to use alienation as a shield from the harsh reality facing him in his attempt to fit in the society (Chen & Lingdi 143). Holden feels more secure when he disassociates himself from the adult world and the high level of responsibility, maturity, and restraint. Holden expresses a feeling of despair because he views life
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As a teenager, he feels a deep solitude and openly admits it. In chapter one, Holden watches the football game on the top of the Thompson Hill. He is definitely avoiding joining his friends to watch the game for Pencey together. This is the first instance of Holden’s life of seclusion in which he fails to connect with his peers and enjoy their company. Sometimes, he feels the urge to socialize with people pushing him to contact girls, meeting someone, or looking for a social experience (Jonnes & Denis 120). He fails in all his attempts because he often disrupts the social moments as a way of avoiding harm. Therefore, he safeguards himself fully, thus, alleviating any chances available for him to ease his loneliness (Chen & Lingdi 149). For example, hanging up the phone before it is answered by Jane Gallagher depicts his fear of directly facing and dealing with his emotions. When he goes to the bar to hang out with his friends, he speaks hurtful sentiments that eventually push them away. Additionally, his date with Sally Hayes becomes unsuccessful due to his unbearable rude behavior. In the end, everyone abandons him causing a much deeper solitude …show more content…
In his family, Holden does not interact with any other family member apart from his younger sister, Phoebe. First, he believes in children because they are still innocent and do not have corrupt minds like the older people. Secondly, he believes that his parents are ‘phony’ because they cannot relate or deal with him in the right way. They are overwhelmed with their own problems at the expense of their son’s emotional health (Chen & Lingdi 152). His parents cannot recognize that he is suffering or forcing Holden to bear the emotion. The parents frequently send him to different boarding schools, a fact that really frustrates Holden. He rarely holds self-analysis to examine his conduct; therefore, he is ignorant of its causes (Jonnes & Denis 176). His life depends on the detachment from the world, which brings him a standard level of self-protection. He has a delicate sense of individuality that relies entirely on this