Does Holden's language prove effective for the reader? Does it take away from the narrative in the novel?  

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Holden's language is essential for maintaining the illusion that the book is being written by a boy who is only sixteen years old. If the author had made his hero/narrator use more formal, literary language it would have destroyed the effect. The reader has to feel that he or she is seeing the various settings and characters through the point of view of a sixteen-year-old, precocious, rebellious, confused and unhappy boy who seems to be going through all the emotional problems of adolescence at once. The book has been compared to Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, and in that famous novel the author maintains the illusion that the narrator is a young boy mainly through his use of point of view and language. Both books rely on the fact that truth often comes "out of the mouths of babes." The fact that Holden presents so many characters as being "phonies" only serves to make him, like Huck Finn, seem more truthful. Holden makes many people angry by speaking the truth. John Milton, the famous English poet, author of Paaradise Lost, said:

Truth never comes into the world but like a bastard, to the ignominy of him that brought her forth.


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The Catcher in the Rye

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