Literary Criticism, The Catcher in the Rye

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The Biographical/Historical Lens applied to The Catcher in the Rye J.D Salinger expresses his view of society in his novel, The Catch in the Rye. His viewpoints are seen in the book through the eyes of young Holden Caulfield. It is evident what type of teenager Holden is within the first pages of the book. He is depicted as the rebellious teenager that cannot sustain strong relationships with people of the older generation or his generation. But his adoration of the younger generation is seen clearly. Holden’s relationships are often not lasting due to Holden’s personality towards society and others, those that he is trying to build a relationship with are not able to see why Holden is the way he is. This is best seen through the biographical/historical lens because along with Holden’s personality toward the older generation and his generation, his viewpoint changes as it comes to the younger generation. This change in personality towards the younger generation reflects the life style of the 1950’s and how everyone wanted to go back and run away from reality. Holden is convinced that society is full of “phonies” and nothing else, that all people have a side in which they should not be proud of, expect the younger generation, whom are completely innocent. This essay will define Holden’s relationships with the different generations in perspective of the biographical/historical lens which will give a better viewpoint of J.D. Salinger’s stance in the time of this writing. In the book The Catcher in the Rye, we are introduced to the main character, Holden Caulfield. One of the first relationships we see Holden take part in is the one between Old Spencer and himself. We see the contradiction between what Holden says before he goes into talk to Old Spencer before he leaves Pencey Prep, and what he says after he comes out. He shows pity towards Old Spencer in the

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