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What is an example of a theme in The Catcher in the Rye and how that theme was...

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moocow554 | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted May 18, 2013 at 6:33 PM via web

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What is an example of a theme in The Catcher in the Rye and how that theme was portrayed in he text?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 18, 2013 at 6:51 PM (Answer #1)

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A theme in The Catcher in the Rye is the alienation and loneliness of youth.

Holden suffers from the same condition most teenagers do: he feels that no one understands him or appreciates him.  Holden has taken his feelings to extreme levels, because he is an exceptionally sensitive and introspective young man.  His angst often reveals itself in anger and depression.

I can't stand that stuff. It drives me crazy. It makes me so depressed I go crazy. (ch 2)

Such a comment, about the phoniness of his prep school, is common from Holden as he tries to find sincerity in the adult world.  While small things depress him, little things interest him too.  When he hears the little kid singing about the catcher in the rye,  he feels better because the kid is just “singing for the hell of it” (ch 16).

Holden wants to connect with people, but does not know how.  Even with Phoebe, he is not sure what to do.  He worries that if he gets close to people, they will disappoint him.  His need for connection and lack of ability to pursue it create an increased level of depression and anxiety for him.

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