Essay Topic: Throughout the novel, Holden tells h

Essay Topic: “Throughout the novel, Holden tells his story in a bitterlycynical voice even in the last chapter.” How does J.D. Salinger depict
Holden’s confusion through Holden’s story telling style?”
Every literary piece is written to convey emotions, thoughts and tastes and
the core point in being sincere with what you are conveying is the
narration of the piece. J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is
narrated by the first person who is the main character in the novel, Holden
Caulfield.

Throughout the novel Holden informs the reader about a part from his life
till he gets to the rest house where he tells his past and how he got there
in a bitterly cynical voice because apparently he is trying to take the
reader into his life and story with his narration and vocabulary. Holden is
helping the reader to understand what he thinks, feels and what his
paradigms are. He is showing the way where the reader can draw up a
conclusion about Holden’s personality, tastes and perspective. Therefore he
is narrating his life in a way that both the reader and Holden recapture
the original emotions and thoughts of the events and the reader contributes
to the story.

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By his quotations like “if you really want to know the truth. But I don’t
feel like going into it.” he clearly underlines that he is indifferent to
life and his life has lost the contact with the real life. He is about to
fall down from the cliff of the rye field. From beginning of the novel to
the end Holden’s quotations and voice indicate that he does not care what
is happening to him. He cares about his sister, his love Jane in a hidden
place of his heart but obviously he does not want to be the “lovely” boy
who cares about everybody and loved by everybody because he says “Don’t
ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” as he
believes that if you strict to life tightly and share many things with life
and people around, you would be dragged to phoniness and artificiality of
life, you would be spoiled quickly. That is why he is obsessed with the
concepts artificiality and phoniness. Holden wants to be the one-man-power
in his life and choose what to include and what to exclude, who to see and
what to talk. He wants to be to decide on his life therefore he has walls
around him that is the intermediate between him and his life. He protects
himself from the phony life by being bitter to life and prejudiced against
life therefore as he knows that his voice, vocabulary are the only tools to
reveal his bitter personality and manner against life he narrates the whole
novel even the last chapter in a bitter cynical voice.

He is prejudiced against people, world and concepts like death, sincerity
and sexuality because he does not want to lose his innocence and be a slave
of the phony adulthood. He sees himself on an edge of a cliff and sexuality
as a rock that he will slip and fall down as he quotes “I mean most girls
are so dumb and all. After you neck them for a while, you can really watch
them losing their brains. You take a girl when she really gets passionate,
she just hasn’t any brains. I don’t know. They tell me to stop, so I stop.

I always wish I hadn’t, after I take them home”. Also he refuses death too
because death brings emotional corruption and phoniness. He mentions his
dead brother as if he never died or he is an old friend. In spite of going
somewhere else when Holden feels lonesome he thinks about his dead brother
Allie and he accepts him and his sister as the symbols of innocence. He
knows that Allie would not come back like the ducks that go away when it is
winter.

Also he tries to avoid extreme feelings in his life because despite his
passion of being with Sally Hayes to avoid being with a phony girl he calls
her “a pain in the ass.”
Holden is a master of taking you from one issue to another without letting
you understand like he is using an invisible rope that drags you in his
life. However Holden lets us know a little about his present situation as
he never drags the issue to it and when he is telling his past he adds his
judgments about his behaviors and names what he did.

“The terrible part, though is that I meant it when I asked her. That’s the
terrible part. I swear to God I’m a madman.”
On the other hand Holden is not reliable because you have to look beyond
his behaviors and words in order to understand him. He never explicitly
tells how he feels like he did not about the Maurice guy. He says he is
robbed and beaten by Maurice but he never tells how this made him feel.

He desperately loves Jane but he always means that he loves Jane. When he
decides to go away to west he meets Phoebe and when you really look beyond
his behavior and words that last meeting was the last demand for help and
support with his harsh life. He wants Phoebe to say “don’t go” but he does
not say to Phoebe “Phoebe if you say don’t go I won’t go”. He does not ever
tell anybody anything. If he does, he starts missing everybody.

Consequently with his implicit and indifferent but prejudiced manner Holden
reveals who actually he is. His bitter voice and style works and he manages
to clearly express himself, show his taste of real art and tell everybody
that he has not become wiser by the bitter experience as his bitterly
cynical voice, manner and vocabulary did not change throughout the novel
even in the last chapter.


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