Discuss the themes of "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D Salinger.

Essay by PuRpLePrInCeSsJunior High, 9th gradeA+, September 2006

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"The Catcher in the Rye" is an example of a modern day classic. The term 'modern day classic can be defined as a novel with universal appeal which has withstood the test of time and is relevant to today's society. This novel could be classed as social realism, as the issues addressed are real and present in our world today. "The Catcher in the Rye" addresses a number of important themes present in today's society, namely isolation, growing up and the "phoniness" of adulthood.

Throughout the novel, it seems as though Holden Caulfield is excluded from and a victim of the world around him. He strongly feels that he doesn't belong to the world and is continuously attempting to find his way around. He is fairly cynical, and he blames this on the fact that he is exposed to a "phony" world. As the novel progresses, it is quite obvious that Holden isolates himself from the world in order to remain protected.

"I was the only one left in the tomb then. I sort of liked it, in a way. It was so nice and peaceful". This demonstrates his need for isolation. Holden uses his isolation as proof that he is better than everyone else, and therefore believes that he doesn't need to interact with them. In actual fact, his interactions with other people usually confuse and overwhelm him, and he uses his cynical sense of superiority as a protective device.

The theme of growing up is an important theme of "The Catcher in the Rye". Holden Caulfield is an adolescent boy who is struggling to cope with yet another expulsion from a school. He leaves a few days before term ends to "take a vacation", and the novel is a recap of the...