In the article written by Duane Edwards, Holden Caulfield is discussed as being an unreliable narrator. Holden is the main character in J.D. Salinger’s.
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Presentation on theme: "In the article written by Duane Edwards, Holden Caulfield is discussed as being an unreliable narrator. Holden is the main character in J.D. Salinger’s."— Presentation transcript:
In the article written by Duane Edwards, Holden Caulfield is discussed as being an unreliable narrator. Holden is the main character in J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye. In the novel Holden’s character is confused and depressed. Edwards starts off his article stating Holden’s largest problem, which is himself. Throughout this article, the author reveals Holden’s pitfalls and hazards which the reader may or may not have discovered for themselves. This analysis will discuss and enforce certain topics which Duane Edwards covered in his article. Analysis
In many pieces of literature, the unreliable narrator can be seen. In most novels, unreliable narrators are used to give different perspectives. In The Catcher in the Rye however, Caulfield as the unreliable narrator shows how the outside world can be severely warped by changing what seems to be reality. Edwards stated, “he’s too busy repressing the truth” and that Caulfield “cannot name one ‘thing’ he likes”. Unreliable Narrator
A key element of The Catcher in the Rye is the distortions in Holden Caulfield’s mind. Throughout the majority of the novel, Caulfield is constantly changing and ignoring the truth. This technique was utilized by Salinger to give readers the ability to analyze what descriptions are most important in Caulfield’s narration. Duane Edwards compared this technique to one of a psychoanalyst’s analysis of a dream. Edwards indicated that this technique helps readers find Caulfield’s greatest fault; the distortion of his thoughts. This technique can be seen when Holden changes the lyrics of Robert Burns’ poem “Comin’ Through the Rye” to “Catcher in the Rye”. Distortions
Irony is not only associated with the distortions of Holden’s mind, but also what Edwards liked to call his “Displacement” as well. In literature, displacement is known as the sense of feeling culturally, physically or socially out of place. In Holden’s case, his thoughts were out of place compared to what most people would think. Edwards stated “He focuses on danger and potential death instead of love and a personal relationship”. Whenever some emotion may be struck on Holden, his thoughts juxtapose what any normal person would feel. This characteristic can be seen any time Holden meets somebody new. For example, when Caulfield sees an old acquaintance named Lillian Simmons, she greets him kindly and Holden just thinks of her as “Strictly a phony”(Salinger 86). Edwards concluded that this displacement of Caulfield’s thoughts show readers how he is an unreliable narrator. Displacement
One of Caulfield’s most prominent characteristics would be his ambivalence. Ambivalence is the coexistence of opposing attitudes or feelings. Throughout the story Caulfield is always emotionally and psychologically ambivalent. Specifically when making judgments of people, Holden always has more than one opinion of their true image. A perfect example of this would be when Caulfield is talking to Mr. Antolini inside his house. Caulfield says, “I don’t hate too many guys. I may hate them for a little while, like this guy Stradlater… but it doesn’t last too long”(Salinger 187). When Caulfield gets in a fight with someone he knows, he hates them with a passion, then after a few weeks, Holden will have totally different feelings for them. Holden’s ambivalence is another element of his character that shows how ironic he really is. Ambivalence
All of these faults in Caulfield’s character not only deem him as an unreliable narrator, but as a very psychologically disturbed person. The reader may have trouble reading parts of Caulfield’s narration, but Salinger purposefully wrote it that way. Caulfield’s life was troubled too. Much of his pain originated after his brother Allie’s death. When Holden misunderstood Robert Burns’ poem “Comin Thro' The Rye” as “Catcher in the Rye” there was a great deal of significance concerning that. Holden wanted to save children from falling off of a cliff- this was an analogy directed towards himself. Similarly to the falling children, Holden’s life was slipping away. Whether it was school grades, being expelled or the lacking of friends, Holden needed someone there to catch him if he started to fall- but no one was there to support him. Analysis
Thank you for listening to our presentation! By Nicholas Diggle, Brynn Haley, Alexia Hawkey- Noble, Sarah Sehl and Mariah Robichaud.