Literary analysis: the catcher in the rye.
The Catcher in the Rye is a bildungsroman or a “coming of age” novel that was written in the 1940s by the author J.D Salinger. Originally published for adults, the book soon became very popular amongst teenagers. This instant interest in the novel was partly due to his forbidden nature, the book had been banned from several schools and classrooms at that time, but mostly because of the subject treated. Adolescence is a period everyone goes through at one point in their life. It’s a period where changes are omnipresent, and the author pictures it extremely well in The Catcher in the Rye. But, how does Salinger shows how the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, feels about the changes related to the coming of age? Well, the writer uses different symbols such as the Museum of Natural History and the ducks in Central Park’s pond to demonstrate how Caulfield feels about becoming an adult.
One of the symbols the author uses to represent changes is the Museum of Natural History. At some point in the story, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, decides to go to the Museum of Natural History to kill some time. Through this episode, the writer exposes Caulfield’s fear of changes. The Museum of Natural History is Holden’s ideal of a perfect world : “ The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move […], nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you. ” (p.121) This quotation shows that Holden thinks that “the best thing” is to stay the same. At the end of the same chapter, when Holden finally arrives at the museum, he finally decides not to go inside : “ Then, a funny thing happened. When I got to the museum, all of a sudden, I wouldn’t have gone inside for a million bucks. ” (p.122) This part can be interpreted in two different ways. First, it might be that Caulfield do not want to get inside because he is afraid that the museum