The Catcher in the Rye: The Nature of Societal and Individual Interdependency

Essay by wruz6High School, 11th gradeA+, April 2005

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In a perfect world, everyone would be happy with the way they are and everyone would accept the differences of others. Unfortunately, the world we live in is not perfect and not everyone accepts who they are . Is there a reason why people cannot be content with their lives or with the differences of other people? The answer is yes, and the reason for the discontent is society. With society telling the masses what is, and is not acceptable, it is no wonder that people seem "lost", and are desperately searching out their place in the sun. This search for identity seems to be the case in JD Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Through settings in the novel and symbolism, Salinger illustrates that while the main character, Holden Caulfield, needs the support of the environment around him, the environment also needs Holden as a person.

Holden Caulfield is out of place in any environment in which he is placed. At Pencey, his school, Holden gets excluded from the activities of his classmates. At the very beginning of the novel, Holden becomes expelled because his grades are not up to Pencey's standards and also because he does not feel like he belongs there. Holden separates himself from his classmates for the most part by not becoming involved in the school. Although Holden is the equipment manager of the fencing team, he distances himself from his companions by losing the equipment, showing that he does not fit in, and he really does not want to. As he reflects back on his final day at Pencey he says: " They kicked me out. ...I was flunking four subjects and not applying myself at all. They gave me frequent warnings to start applying myself...but I didn't do it" (Salinger...