The catcher in the rye
Uploaded by hate666 on Apr 06, 2004
“The Catcher in the Rye” By Christine Cameron
Hypothesis: How does the writer create a believable main character in Holden?
“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D Salinger was first published in America and Britain in 1951 but the British version had some minor changes. For example, certain swear words and slang words were removed. It was also banned from schools. This made the book more appealing to me because I wanted to see what all the controversy was about. On reading the book, I found it interesting how the writer managed to create a believable main character in Holden. This is done in a number of different ways using different techniques, all of which fascinated me.
From the start of the novel, Holden is portrayed by Salinger as an individual, which makes him more believable as a character. This is done by giving him an individual voice using the first person narrative. The character is the narrator for the whole of the book, slanting the novel entirely from Holden’s point of view. This gives us a better insight into his character and the feelings and views demonstrated by him make him seem more realistic in the eyes of the reader. At the beginning of the novel, Holden’s informal language speaks directly to readers by addressing them as “you” and by the end of the novel, the readers feel as if they know Holden personally, hence contributing towards a believable character.
Characters often seem more realistic to the reader if they are shown to have habits. In his speech, Holden has a number of phrases that are repeated time and time again throughout the novel. For example he often says “that kills me” to show that something amuses him. These are traits unique to Holden an individual and make him believable as a character.
Another technique that is often used to create Holden as a realistic and believable character is to make him do things that a normal person would do. For example, he often changes the subject whilst having a conversation or jumps from one topic to the next. Holden has a habit of digressing when conversing with people, as normal people do. I feel this is an attempt by the writer to add to the sense of realism.
Another aspect that Salinger uses to make Holden’s character more believable is through patterns in his behaviour. Characters can seem more individual...