"The Catcher in the Rye" by: J.D. Salinger

Essay by kermitdifrogHigh School, 10th grade May 2004

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The Catcher in the Rye takes place mostly in New York. The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, finds himself in a chain of events while he is running away from his home that all end up to his isolation from the world. Time after time he finds himself abandoned by the people he believed in most, he comes closer to his fate. Even his English teacher, Mr. Antolini, the man he confided in most, let him down. The novel ends in tragedy for Holden when he finally realizes he cannot win his battle. He returns home to his parents and is obviously sent to a psychiatric hospital to "rest" before retiring to the world that has defeated him.


This book is full of different themes and ideas. Therefore, they will be explained in a series of paragraphs. Mostly, the book speaks of innocence and placement in our world. Through the protagonist and his views and actions, the author J.D.

Salinger portrays these themes.

"I didn't know where the hell to go." That quote said by Holden would fully describe how he feels about his place in the world. The major theme in The Catcher in the Rye is that of alienation within a society that is increasingly sacrificing its value system for the sake of monetary gain. It is also that of alienation within a society that is conformist, where no one has the courage to be true, honest, and different. Holden Caulfield is a solitary rebel who is alienated because he cannot conform. He perceives his loneliness and isolation and wants to break the confines of his seclusion by making some form of human connection. Unfortunately, all the people he reaches out to, are unable to accept him. Holden is faced with denial and rejection from all quarters.