Analyse each chapter in 'The Catcher in The Rye'
Your notes should include:
At least FIVE literary devices. Refer to literary terms handout.
Describe setting, character, plot
Identify important quotes
Analyze the text: why is this significant to the story? What do you think the Author was trying to convey?
The novel opens with the setting of a mental hospital or sanatorium set in southern California. The setting for these two chapters in the flashback looks beck to Pencey Prep. It was a terrible school as recorded by the narrator. The atmosphere of the schools seems to be dark and lifeless like the December air on Thomsen Hill. The narrator describes the evets that took place in the Christmas time in the previous year. There is a reference of the field where a traditional season-ending football match took place.
Holden Caulfield is the narrator of the novel who is in mental asylum and discloses his life before the readers. There are some obvious signs which point out that Holden is troubled as well as unreliable narrator.
Mr. spencer: he is the former teacher of the school where Holden used to study. He feels affection for this particular student and wants to discuss about his failure so that he can follow the right path in his life.
Holden Caulfield is the protagonist and narrator of the novel The Catcher in The Rye. These initial chapters describe his current states in the mental hospital. The entire novel is the personal experience of the narrator which he describes in a cynical voice. His speeches disclose the fact that some catastrophic happened to him which he does not want to ruminate. However, Holden memorises his past life in his school from where he was expelled for failure. He eventually visits his former history teacher and asks for advice though he abruptly leaves Mr. Spencer’s house because he did not enjoy confronting the same theme he wanted to avoid.
Symbol of life has been used in these chapters. Through Mr. Spencer, this symbol has got a complete understanding.
“Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.”
This quotation is froms conversation with Spencer in Chapter 2. His former history teacher is pestering him for his failures at his school. It is about playing his own character by the rules of life.
These two chapters reveals the struggle of the narrator as a psychiatric patient. It records his past life and beginning of failure in school. he escapes from the education system as well as his well-wisher’s advice.
The setting here is the school hall and dormitory where the narrator lived. It captures an image of average days in the school and his personal interactions with his friends.
Symbol of life and use of irony in Chapter 2
Ackley: Ackley is described as an ugly boy with poor dental hygiene. He is an irritating classmate who is never liked by the narrator.
Stradlater: he is also a classmate and outwardly attractive but a secret slob.
Jane Gallagher: she is a friend of the narrator whom he likes. For her, Holden feels jealous to Stradlater as he took Jane on a date.
Allie: he is the elder brother of Holden. To him he was the most intelligent member in his family and had great love for poetry (Pickering).
The plot centres round the charters of Holden with his classmates. It captures the way he interacts with the classmates. Here the narrator expresses his displeasure about the people and their bitter behaviour towards him.
Symbol: the red hunting hat is the most powerful symbol in the novel as it captures the inner expectation of individuality of the narrator. It records his deepest desire to eliminate all whom he does not want in his life (Priest).
Like hell it is.” I took it off and looked at it. I sort of closed one eye, like I was taking aim at it. “This is a people shooting hat,” I said. “I shoot people in this hat.”
The narrator says this in Chapter 3 to describe the importance of the hat in his life. He explains that he wants to spend all his mental energy vilifying the people around him.
It is obvious from this chapters that Holden uses his shooting hat as the mark of his individual existence as well as independence. It demonstrates his feeling of bitterness against the world.
Here the novel is set in the dormitory then the railways station from where the narrator wanted to board a train to New York. The narrator stays in Edmont Hotel where he interacts with many unknown people yet misses his sister.
Holden Caulfield: the character of the narrator develops in these chapters. He does not want to introspect because he knows he will find his shortcomings therefore focusses on the world around him.
Phoebe Caulfield: she is the sister if the narrator. Before she is actually introduced in the novel, the readers get her description through the narrator. She was the only noble character to the author. She is referred to be embodiment of childhood innocence.
These chapters capture the narrator’s escape from the school as well as from the town. He heads towards the rail station and catches a train to New York. In the way he again comes across with the mother of one of his class mate whom he does not like and hides his own identity and intention when he is asked about the reason for visiting New York (Salinger). At Penn station he wanted to call someone he knows. Here he comes across bizarre things like men clothed like woman. He tries to make friendship with a girl but she seemed to be least bothered by the narrator thus avoids him. Before going to the club, he desired to talk to his sister and gives a long description of her description bears great resemblance with that of Allie as she was also intelligent as the brother.
Setting and symbolism in Chapter 3
Irony: the narrator used irony to reveal the superficiality and extravagance of the people around him. Through the use of irony, he avoids introspection of himself by focusing on the world through a dismissive or critical lens (Liu, Fan and Yong).
There isn't any night club in the world you can sit in for a long time unless you can at least buy some liquor and get drunk. Or unless you're with some girl that really knocks you out.
The theme of this chatter focuses that the narrators has escaped from his school just to avoid the interaction with the people around him but just after reaching New York, he desires company of people and finds Chace to talk to them.
Maurice: he is the in charge of the hotel and arranges for a female companion for the author. Later, he falls out with Holden and hurts him.
Sunny: she is a prostitute sent by Maurice to accompany the narrator for only a five dollar. However, Sunny also leaves Holden calling him crumb-bum as he refused to pay her 10 dollar instead of five.
Symbol of rye field is the image that reflects the happy childhood the narrator which he spent with his sister. It is the symbol of freedom and life from the author’s perspective (Bloom).
" I felt much more depressed than sexy."
Chapter 13 of the text discloses the fact that Holden is gradually becoming a psychiatric patient due to extreme depression.
A motif that this chapter capture intimacy and sexuality. Holden constantly looks for new relationships with attractive women and conversation about sex (Kumar). These conversations offer him a way for escaping his alienation but bear self-contradictory evidences.
Setting: the entire setting of the novel in this chapter is in the hotel room of Holden Caulfield.
Sally: She is the friend of the author with whom he had spent a long time in a love relationship.
Author’s perspective is important in this chapters as he alienates himself from others but missed the innocence of his sister and warmth of Jane. He attempts to find shelter in a woman figure like Sunny but she also hurts him. His memory of Sally, his ex-girlfriend leads him in extreme agitation.
Rhetoric device has been used in plenty to record the narrator’s desperate need for love and the consequence (Bickmore).
“I swear to God I’m a madman”
It is the self-realization of Holden when he memorises his encounter and conversation with sally.
These chapters are set in the pub where the narrator canals and meets a lot of people he knew previously.
Luce: she was a senior classmate who came to visit Holden and suggested him to consult a psychiatrist.
he is teacher who came closer to Holden and a complex figure.
These chapters describe the character of Mr. Antolini in detail as well as supports the perspectives that the narrator had about his sister Phoebe. The ending of the novel is ambiguous. It is not clear that whether the narrator fulfils promise of reclamation that is suggested as he watched the carousel.
Author’s perspective is disclosed through the character of Holden. Here he demonstrates the actual reason of depression of the character. It was the absence of love in the life that compels people to depression (Berg).
“Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody”
Berg, Karin. "Roaming the streets: A comparative study of the theme of the flâneur in the novels Catcher in the Rye and Ghost World." (2016).
Bickmore, Steven T., and Kate Youngblood. "‘It's The Catcher in the Rye… He said it was the kind of book you made your own': Finding Holden in Contemporary YA Literature." English in Education 48.3 (2014): 250-263.
Bloom, Harold, ed. JD Salinger's the Catcher in the Rye. Infobase Publishing, 2014.
Carlson, Pernilla. "“You can’t trust anyone”: Authority and Social Control in JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye." (2015).
Kumar, Neevi A. "JD Salinger's Catcher In The Rye: An Identity Crisis." Deliberative Research 21.1 (2014): 179.
Liu, Fan, and Yong-Zhi Liu. "Creation of Emptiness and Hopelessness: A Close Reading of The Catcher in the Rye." DEStech Transactions on Social Science, Education and Human Science hsmet (2016).
Pickering, Jerry V. An analysis of the work of JD Salinger from his earliest short stories through his novel, the Catcher in the Rye. Diss. 2017.
Priest, Benjamin. "The Catcher in the Rye and the ill member of the group: Holden Caulfield and adolescent development." Psychodynamic Practice 22.3 (2016): 209-222.
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher In The Rye. 2018. Print.
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