What is a poem written by an American author that shares a common theme with Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger?What is a poem written by an American author that shares a common theme with...

What is a poem written by an American author that shares a common theme with Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger?

What is a poem written by an American author that shares a common theme with Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger?

Asked on by gymerie

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that you can find many different examples of American poets who share ideas that Salinger brings out in his work.  One of my favorite connections would have to be Emily Dickinson.  She writes many poems that could speak to Holden Caulfield's predicament.  One of them is the poem, "I'm nobody!  Who are you?"  The speaker in the poem readily admits that they are socially maligned, no doubt from the rejection of "phonies" that Holden encounters.  Like Holden, they struggle with the fact that they have been relegated to the peripheries of social interaction.  The poem's opening declaration of being "nobody" is something that Holden understands as a part of his own identity throughout the novel.  The closing line of the first stanza is also something that speaks to Holden's condition in the idea of being "banished," as this is something that Holden literally experiences with his experiences at Pencey Prep.  I think that the poem actually speaks to where Holden would like to be in that there is a certain comfort found in being isolated on the periphery, so long as there is someone there with him.  Perhaps, this is his sister or someone with whom he can share the experience of being in love, but the reality is that living on the periphery is something easier when two people share it.  This is the idea behind Dickinson's poem and something to which Holden can aspire in his emotional growth and development.

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