Uploaded by rezak9 on Apr 08, 2002
The Catcher in the Rye has truly earned its place among great classic works. J. D. Salinger created a literary piece that was completely unique. The entire novel was written in the first person view of the 17-year-old, Holden Caulfield. The majority of the story is compiled of Holden's rudimentary monologue of 'complexly simple' thoughts, the rest utilizing his relay of previous dialogue. That and the use of unique punctuation, digressing explanations, and complex characterization, transformed the simple plot into the complex literary classic.
The novel's dialogue and monologue alike, manage to relay the feel of natural speaking such as: "I mean you'd be different in some way - I can't explain what I mean." The contractions; you'd and can't - since they are common in everyday language - establish a very common and simple tone. Stress on the first syllable of "different," reinforces the tone by demonstrating how typically they speak, just as in reality. He uses dashes for pauses and signaling associative digressions. Instead of signaling pauses, commas are used mostly where mechanically required, for instance: "So all of a sudden, I ran like a madman across the street - I damn near got myself killed doing it, if you want to know the truth - and went in this stationary store and bought a pad and pencil."
Holden Caulfield creates a thought provoking point of view. On the surface many of his thought patterns seem unrelated and straying from the topic. His association of topic with digression is used almost constantly throughout the novel. However, realizing that these digressions are very relevant and even crucial to the topic allow the reader to gain true insight to the character. His statements about his sister's intelligence, followed by explanations of how well she listens, reveals Holden's associations of intelligence with being quiet and observant. Another example would be his tension around the nuns. Even though he enjoyed the conversation, he worried about being asked if he was Catholic. He stated they "...would have liked it better if he were Catholic." This gives insight to his discomfort with being judged morally, and to his association of people of morals looking down on those who don't share them.
In Holden's descriptions and thoughts, Salinger accomplished the most unique aspect of the story's point-of-view. Instead of using the popular - however overrated - style of well refined thoughts and flowery descriptions, Salinger describes things as...