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Consider how the writer presents the narrator in the opening chapters of the novel The Catcher in the Rye was first published in 1951

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Introduction

Consider how the writer presents the narrator in the opening chapters of the novel The Catcher in the Rye was first published in 1951. Due to the fact that large amounts of slang and cursory languages are included in the text the novel provoked great controversy at its release. Critics argued that the book was not serious literature, considering its casual and informal tone. However the novel still appealed to a great number of people. Salinger's presentation of the narrator (Holden) seemed to touch the emotions of readers in an exceptional way. The Catcher in the Rye was frequently read as a tale of an individual's alienation within a "phony" world. ...read more.

Middle

The most noticeable of Holden's eccentricity is how extremely critical he is of almost everything and everybody. He criticizes people who are boring (Mr Spencer), people who are insecure (Ackley), and above all, people who are "phony". Holden uses this term constantly throughout the opening chapters to describe not only people who are insincere but also those who are too conventional or too typical, such as the people who dress and act to match their social status. However, by using the term it indicates that Holden's own perceptions of other people are superficial; when describing people, he often rejects more complex analysis of their personalities for simple, categorised ones. ...read more.

Conclusion

Just as he wears his hunting hat,(a symbol of his uniqueness and individuality) to show his desires to be different from everyone around him, he tries to use his isolation as a sign of strength, to show that he is better than everyone else around him and therefore does not need their help. As readers, we can see that Holden's alienation is the cause of most of his pain and the reason behind his cynical character. He never addresses his own emotions directly, e.g. when he talks about his brother's death he uses deictic language, nor does he attempt to discover the source of his troubles. He desperately in need of human contact and love, but his sense of self-protection pushes away everyone who seeks to make a contact with him. ...read more.

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