The its incapability to address particular societal flaws, now

The Catcher in the Rye is set in the America of the 1950s. The 1950s was a time of economic expansion and social stagnation. The African-American community, women, and the younger generation had a very little amount of political power. However, protests were still at a minimum. At that moment in time everyone thought that this societal structure would carry on for a long time.Such is the society that Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of the book, lives in. An example of many of his generation, Holden Caulfield criticises the “phoniness” of his world as he transitions into the “real and adult world”. Although he despises and continually expresses his dismay with the “phony” nature of the world, he is unable to effect any meaningful change in his community. He is also unable to connect with anyone else in the book, feeling that he is the only one who is not “phony”. In an attempt to summon everyone’s true self, Holden runs away from his prep school. Even though the Catcher in the Rye has been criticized for its incapability to address particular societal flaws, now it has been proven that this book has caught the unusual societal malaise of 1950 America.The recurring theme in The Catcher in the Rye is the clash among society and individualism. Holden Caulfield regards the showy nature of the society he lives in with hate. As a utopian, Holden desires his society to show their true nature and connect with each other on an I-thou relationship. Ironically, as the son of a rich corporate lawyer, Holden Caulfield is sensitive to the barricading between different classes influenced by the materialism of the 1950 America. For Holden authentic connection between two individuals stays a problem. The Catcher in the Rye, in addition to the clash between an individual and society, has a subtle and underlying “abstract” theme. Holden Caulfield not only strives against society but also against Time. During his transition period between child life and adult life, Holden figures out that Time is a great destructive force as it took his dear younger brother, Allie, away from him when he dies of leukemia. As result of this experience, Caulfield desires to control time and stop it right there and then so that no one else gets hurt by time. He instinctively grows a liking to the Museum of Natural History because “everything stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move.” As the name of the novel suggests Holden desires to be “the catcher in the rye.” Holden’s meaning of  “the catcher in the rye” is to catch kids, playing in a field of rye, before they run accidentally jump over a cliff. Holden wants to “catch” the innocent kids, who know nothing of the adult world” before they “fall” into the phony adult world. Holden wants to do this because there was no one there for him to shield his innocence from the phony outside world, so he wants to make sure no other child face what he faced.


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