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Catcher in the Rye Thesis

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In the classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, the character of Holden is introduced. Over the course of the novel, we learn a great deal about the bond that used to exist between Holden and a childhood friend named Jane. The two have not communicated in a while and he does not even see or talk to her throughout the course of the novel. Still, Holden reminisces about their past and how their friendship came to be.

The inclusion of this character allows the author to elaborate and explain some of Holden’s past, the reasons why Holden thinks the way he does, and how his insecurities envelop him.

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Throughout the story, the character of Jane is brought up quite a lot. Even when he just starts telling us about her, it is evident that she played an important role in his childhood. Whenever Holden talks about somebody being phony, his thoughts always wander off to Jane.

The first time we, as readers, heard about Jane was during one of the first few chapters. When Holden’s roommate, Stradlater, mentions that she is the girl that he is going on a date with, it’s apparent that Holden is pleasantly surprised. He exclaims, “Boy, I nearly dropped dead when he said that. right after Stradlater mentions Jane’s name. Holden dwells on the topic of Jane, asking him where she is now, where she goes to school, and how she happened to mention him. Then, Holden begins telling Stradlater about his days with Jane Gallagher. He mentions her past as a dancer and the times he used to play checkers with her. He remembers all these little details about Jane. He states “she wouldn’t move any of her kings… She’d just leave it in the back row. ” Using Jane as a gateway into Holden’s past, the author is able to give the readers bits of clues about Holden’s childhood and how he grew up.

Many times when Holden is alone, he thinks of Jane and recalls the moments they spent together and his past. Through Holden’s anecdotes, Salinger is able to share some of Holden’s past and his feelings towards Jane. With this character of Jane, Salinger gives us hints of how Holden thinks, and why he thinks the way that he does. When he’s going on about Jane, a lot of his personality shows too. He remembers that Jane keeps her kings in the back, that she’s a hard working dancer, and that she’s terrible at golf. All these personal, revealing details about her character is how he remembers er. In contrast to Stradlater who is more focused on physical looks, Holden obviously cares about her as a person. Using Jane, Salinger can develop Holden’s personality. The reader now sees that Holden has this caring side to him that he only reveals when he’s with Jane, or if he’s thinking about her. In fact, we can see what Holden sees in a girl when Jane is on his mind again. He states, “You never wanted to kid Jane that much… The girls I like the best are the ones I never feel much like kidding.” From the way he talks about Jane, it’s apparent that he cares deeply for her.

Salinger uses her character and her role in Holden’s life to tell the readers that even though Holden is sometimes phony himself, joking around and faking small talk, what he truly wants in a proper relationship is someone who is not phony at all, someone like Jane. A sense of insecurity is evident throughout Holden’s debate against himself about whether or not to give “old Jane a buzz. ” So many times Holden has attempted to call Jane. And every single time, he has failed to do so. He almost seems afraid to because of the many excuses he makes up to avoid actually calling her. I thought of giving old Jane a buzz, to see if she was home yet and all, but I wasn’t in the mood,” Holden says. They’re always excuses like that. Sometimes he’s not in the mood, sometimes he doesn’t want to talk to her mother because Holden thinks she’s the one that will pick up the phone. All the times he just didn’t feel like calling her seems like he’s avoiding it, like he doesn’t want to talk to her rather than vice versa. This thought provoking situation Holden faces is very resourceful of the author.

Even though Jane hasn’t even met with or talked to Holden in quite a long time, the impression is that he still thinks about her all the time. How the author included Jane in this scene let us realize Holden’s anxiety. Jane Gallagher makes appearances throughout the novel yet does not actually meet Holden. While he attempts to get in contact with her, his efforts fail and she is never mentioned in the present tense. J. D. Salinger included her nevertheless because of the significance her presence could mean to Holden. With stories and anecdotes that include her, we are able to discover Holden’s past as well as his insecurities and opinions.

Cite this Catcher in the Rye Thesis

Catcher in the Rye Thesis. (2016, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/catcher-in-the-rye-thesis/

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