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Critical Essay: 'The Catcher In the Rye' "Choose a novel which deals with the theme of isolation. By referring to the novel closely, examine the techniques the writer uses to portray this theme."

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Critical Essay: 'The Catcher In the Rye' "Choose a novel which deals with the theme of isolation. By referring to the novel closely, examine the techniques the writer uses to portray this theme." 'The Catcher In the Rye', written by J.D. Salinger is a bildungsroman in which Holden Caulfield, a misanthropic sixteen-year-old, narrates a story concerning three, eventful days of his life. Among the several themes successfully portrayed throughout the novel, the theme of isolation is most prominent, as Holden constantly feels detached from the society in which he lives. The reasons for this are various but are mainly due to the fact that Holden is unhappy with the world he lives in and what it values. His dislikes for the world around him cause him to withdraw into a state of isolation and this serves as a form of self-protection from the 'phonies' that he finds so unbearable. It is at the start of the novel that that Holden is initially perceived as being an outsider to the society around him. At 'Pencey Prep.', he reveals his strong emotions on a number of instances and the reader soon learns that he does not appear to have any true friends. ...read more.


The first sentence of the above quotation has an interesting structure as it is a very short and this helps to emphasise how quickly Holden leaves the club as well as how sudden his decision to leave is. Additionally, when he says that 'people are always ruining things for you', he is actually saying that phoniness ruins things for him. For Holden, phoniness is something which greatly upsets him and he sees it as a symbol of what is fundamentally wrong in the adult world. It is for this reason that he isolates himself from the majority of adults around him. This explains his actions in the situation at 'Ernie's' when Lillian Simmons asks him to join her. He realizes she is 'phony' and so this gives him an excuse to withdraw into his isolation, making him leave. When Holden meets Carl Luce further on in the novel, he demonstrates how he is frightened of isolation. The reader notices this because of the way he pleads Carl to stay and have another drink with him: "'Have just one more drink,' I told him. ' Please. I'm lonesome as hell. ...read more.


This idea of protection features yet again in the novel. Just as he has isolated himself from the phonies of the adult world, he wants to isolate these children from that phoniness as well. "The Catcher In The Rye" is a novel which investigates many different issues and can be read on a variety of different levels. Holden appears to be someone who isolates himself from the society he lives in as a form of self-protection. As Salinger reveals more about Holden's isolation, the reader in turn, learns more about his character as well. He fails to make any true friends throughout the novel and is unable to feel at ease when confiding to anyone. Holden's isolation is a source of both his pain and his strength; however, it is also something which he fears. He wants to protect children from what has happened to him, but, by the end of the novel, emerges as an individual who is greatly troubled by those around him. Salinger's portrayal of Holden's isolation is consistently effective throughout the whole of the novel and it is Salinger's effective use of literary techniques which shape "The Catcher In The Rye" into the thought-provoking work that it is today. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 of 2 Page 1 Declan Pang ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

The writer provides an engaged response, which refers to several different parts of the text but never really addresses the 'techniques' part of the question. Consider the importance of viewpoint, setting, structure & symbolism. ***

Marked by teacher Karen Reader 11/05/2012

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