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The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger The live, the dead, and the phony.

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Presentation on theme: "The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger The live, the dead, and the phony."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger The live, the dead, and the phony



4 Holden Caulfield A seventeen-year-old boy –Recently flunked out of yet another boys-only preparatory school He wanders about the streets of New York City, ruminating on his views of human nature and mortality He has a disconnect with reality –He refers to most people as “phonies” –He has no regard for the long-term consequences of his actions



7 The Ducks Holden asks a taxi driver where the ducks in the pond go in the winter Holden’s inquiry about the ducks is symbolic for his fear of mortality and the unknown

8 “I didn't want to start an argument. "Okay," I said. Then I thought of something, all of a sudden. "Hey, listen," I said. "You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you happen to know, by any chance?" I realized it was only one chance in a million. He turned around and looked at me like I was a madman. ‘What're ya tryna do, bud?" he said. "Kid me?’ ‘No – I was just interested, that's all.’ He didn't say anything more, so I didn't either. Until we came out of the park at Ninetieth Street. Then he said, ‘All right, buddy. Where to?’” -The Catcher in the Rye


10 Allie Caulfield Holden’s brother, Allie, had died of leukemia four years prior to the events in the book –Holden Caulfield was thirteen years old when his brother –Allie was ten years old at the time of his death Holden idolizes Allie, and is haunted by his death

11 “I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don't blame them. I really don't. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddamn windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon we had that summer, but my hand was already broken and everything by that time, and I couldn't do it. It was a very stupid thing to do, I'll admit, but I hardly didn't even know I was doing it, and you didn't know Allie. My hand still hurts me once in a while when it rains and all, and I can't make a real fist any more – not a tight one, I mean – but outside of that I don't care much. I mean I'm not going to be a goddamn surgeon or a violinist or anything anyway. -The Catcher in the Rye


13 James Castle Holden’s only friend at Elkton Hills Salinger implies that James is raped by a group of boys, as punishment for insulting one of them

14 “There was this one boy at Elkton Hills, named James Castle, that wouldn't take back something he said about this very conceited boy, Phil Stabile. Stabile, with about six other dirty bastards, went down to James Castle's room and went in and locked the goddamn door and tried to make him take back what he said, but he wouldn't do it. I won't even tell you what they did to him – it's too repulsive. Finally, what he did, instead of taking back what he said, he jumped out the window. I was in the shower and all, and even I could hear him land outside. There was old James Castle laying right on the stone steps and all. He was dead, and his teeth, and blood, were all over the place. He had on this turtleneck sweater I'd lent him.” -The Catcher in the Rye


16 Fear of Mortality Holden tries to gain control of his mortality by distancing himself from reality –Het talks to his dead brother’s spirit as though it can actually hear him –Holden frequently imagines scenarios that result in his death –He describes death in abstract terms, and uses the term “disappearing” as a euphemism This further demonstrates his fear of the unknown He is also greatly concerned about the loss of innocence, as he lost his innocent naïveté when Allie died



19 Perception of Death Holden is terrified by his uncertainty about a spiritual afterlife The only mechanisms he has for dealing with his grief are belief in an afterlife (at least for his brother) and tangible mementos of Allie

20 “When the weather's nice, my parents go out quite frequently and stick a bunch of flowers on old Allie's grave. I went with them a couple of times, but I cut it out. In the first place, I certainly don't enjoy seeing him in that crazy cemetery. Surrounded by dead guys and tombstones and all. It wasn't too bad when the sun was out, but twice – twice – we were there when it started to rain. It was awful. It rained on his lousy tombstone, and it rained on the grass on his stomach. It rained all over the place. All the visitors that were visiting the cemetery started running like hell over to their cars. That's what nearly drove me crazy. All the visitors could get in their cars and turn on their radios and all and then go someplace nice for dinner – everybody except Allie. I couldn't stand it. I know it's only his body and all that's in the cemetery, and his soul's in Heaven and all that crap, but I couldn't stand it anyway. I just wish he wasn't there. You didn't know him. If you'd known him, you'd know what I mean. It's not too bad when the sun's out, but the sun only comes out when it feels like coming out.” -The Catcher in the Rye


22 The Author J. D. Salinger died alone at the age of 91 –He the last years of his life isolated from society He may have suffered from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the deaths he witnessed during his military service



25 “All those big strong boys, always on the front line, always the first to be killed, wave after wave of them.” -J. D. Salinger


27 Works Cited Boyd, E. (2010, June 4). Holden caulfield clings to his dead brother. Retrieved from tate=303034706167653030375765625061676530303269643 030353136383730 tate=303034706167653030375765625061676530303269643 030353136383730 The catcher in the rye theme of mortality. (2008, November 11). Retrieved from rye/mortality-theme.html rye/mortality-theme.html Shaw, P. (2010, December 6). “love and death in ‘the catcher in the rye’”. Retrieved from The catcher in the rye mortality quotes. (2010, November 11). Retrieved from rye/mortality-quotes.html rye/mortality-quotes.html


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