I need the temporal structure of the novel by referring to Holden´s situation in The Catcher in the Rye.The answer has to do with the 3 phases of the development of Holden´s character.

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Temporal structure are those things (e.g., tense, clauses) that determine "temporal relations [succession, inclusion, overlap, etc] between events and states as presented by the text."

So, if we look at the recursive, episodic narrative structure and the opening and closing passage in particular, we should be able to see several phases of character: 1) refusal to be defined by past/history/family (opening passage); 2) language as self-sabotage in order to avoid materialism/phoniness (story proper) ; 3) a remorse of confession (final passage)

I. Narration

A. Bildungsroman: novel of maturation

B. Coming-of-Age (apprenticeship novel)

C. Bookend structure: framed in California; story proper is Penn., NYC

D. Holden’s voice is implicitly male voice

E. American voice

F. Folksy voice

G. Youthful, teenage voice with adult voice behind it

1. conversational style

2. simple language

3. colloquial (slang)

4. lots of repetition

5. cussing

6. many digressions

H. Holden is unreliable narrator

I. Confession (“If you really want to hear about it…)

1. to a psychiatrist/psychologist?

2. to a priest, monk?

3. to Allie?

4. to Phoebe?

J. Narrating from a “rest home”

1. psychiatrist’s office?

2. mental facility?

3. D.B.’s pad?

K. Only rants and complains (no morals)

L. Holden is marginalized (exists on the fringes of society)

II. Opening Passages

A. Conditional opening: “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me”

1. non-autobioghical

2. anti-Freudian (don’t psycho-analyze Holden’s lousy childhood)

3. episodic plot (like The Odyssey, Huck Finn)

B. Anti-European: “…and all that David Copperfield kind of crap” (Dickens)

1. most European characters define themselves in context of family

2. Holden is saying that he doesn’t define himself with others or the past (birth of the American rebel)

a. Not defined by family

b. Not defined by society

c. Not defined by old world values

d. Not defined by old literature

e. Not defined by old movies

II. Language

A.   Anaphora: (repetition at beginning of sentence) : “It rained on his lousy tombstone, and it rained on the grass on his stomch.”

B.    Metaphor: “Or you’d just passed by one of those puddles in the street with gasoline rainbows in them”

C.    Alliteration: “crazy cannon”; “we can smoke till they start screaming at us”

D.   Irony: It’s really ironical, because I’m six foot two and a half and I have gray hair.”

E.    Hyperbole: “The one side of my head—the right side—is full of millions of gray hairs.”

F.    Dramatic Irony: (dominant figure of speech in the novel)—although Holden acknowledges that he has faults and weaknesses, he fails to realize how immature and maladjusted he really is

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The Catcher in the Rye

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