The Catcher in the Rye Questions and Answers
by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What type of literary devices are used in The Catcher in the Rye and what makes them effective?

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,377 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Salinger utilizes numerous literary devices to characterize Holden and gives him a believable voice throughout the novel. Holden continually uses hyperbole when he speaks, which is typical of most adolescents. Holden's use of superlatives and over-the-top assessments characterize him as a naive, jaded teenager, who is trying to understand the adult world. In the first chapter, Holden immediately says, "My parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them" (Salinger, 1). Holden continues to use hyperbole when he says that his brother recently bought a Jaguar that "can do around two hundred miles an hour." Holden again uses hyperbole to describe the atmosphere of campus regarding the significant football game against Saxon Hall. Holden says, "It was the last game of the year, and you were supposed to commit suicide or something if old Pencey didn't win" (Salinger, 2). Holden's excessive use of hyperbole adds to his voice and characterizes him as a...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1,140 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Mike Walter eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write1,473 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

katemschultz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write320 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Law and Politics, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write1,918 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


atyourservice | Student

There are several symbolism in the book the catcher in the rye, such as the red hunting hat, the museum of natural history, the ducks in central park, mummies, the little Shirley beans record, James castle, Phoebe’s notebook, and the carousel. These symbols are effective because they all have a deeper meaning behind them and reveal who Holden really is. They provide us an indirect characterization.

Wiggin42 | Student

There are various symbols and motifs in The Catcher in the Rye. For example: ducks, red hunting hat, blood, and death. The symbols are so effective and important because: 

Rather, the subtle structure and crucial episodes and symbols demand that the novel be evaluated as a work of literary art. Within the complex history of modern literature, Holden Caulfield is one of many rebels. This literature of protest against society often purposefully satirizes conventional values. If it offends readers, forces them to look at reality from what the critic Kenneth Burke has called a "perspective by incongruity," it does so to disturb and shock the audience to look again at the world. The Catcher in the Rye dramatizes how easily modern man, in Holden's eyes at least, accepts a vulgar environment characterized by graffiti, urban decay, fake behavior, and a culture that glorifies the trivial while remaining insensitive to human needs.