June exam TCITR extended metaphor (4085 words)

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The catcher in the rye

In 'The catcher in the Rye'' published in 1951, the author J.D salinger uses extended metaphor as a technique to comment on the use of the word phony' and his portrayal of childhood and adulthood. Holden uses the word TCITR' as an extended metaphor for his vision of a caring society and inversely as his critique of a society that thrives on the rapacity and duplicity of individuals like Ossenburger, the violence of conceited Prep school boys like Phil Stabile and his gang of bullies and the conformism of his brother D.B.  In Holden's narrative this metaphor finds extended expression in the contrasting images of adult violence and conceit, on the one hand, and childhood innocence and authenticity on the other who have not been compromised by the consumer culture of post-WW2 American society.  And since it is a metaphor that Holden not only identifies with himself, but also with the vulnerability of the children or the weak in his society.

Holden is on the cusp of adulthood. Salinger makes it evident that he doesn't want to grow up and leave his childhood behind. He has difficulties After many attempts to transition into adulthood, such as hiring a prostitute and fending for himself in a big city, Holden realizes that it isn't all that great and he does just want to be younger again. He even treasures his childhood so much to the extent that he feels as though he has to preserve the innocence of other children, such as his younger sister Phoebe hence the book title The Catcher in the Rye'. Holden says, "I keep picturing all these little kids in a big field of rye and all And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff". His sister asks his what he wanted to be and he did so by expressing himself in metaphorical terms. He said I want to be TCITR' in other words he is not interested in drama money or fame. His answer is very symbolic. The field of rye symbolizes childhood and over the cliff symbolizes adulthood which refers to kids falling into the same pattern of consumerism he crisitses. In a field of rye, you're surrounded by rye, which symbolizes how kids are oblivious to their futures and the responsibility that comes with growing up. Adulthood can come pretty quickly, and Holden parallels this sensation to falling off a cliff. He chooses to work back and stop other young people facing adulthood. So he is the person who is going to preserve the childrens innocence so that they remain creative so they don't fall into the trap of the same old pattern of consumer culture which for example is a society that has become so adapt of consuming and buying things , a fake society that they forgot how to be creative. Ironically, this puts him in a position of responsibility over his younger sister Phoebe. Salinger has included this ongoing contrast to further help the reader understand Holden's perspective and his marginalization from the adult world.

Holden talks about a society that has aboandoned its responsibility to protect the most defenceless of its members .A literal illustration of the central metaphor that Holden provides, is the story of James Castle's suicide, whom nobody is there to catch when he falls to his death after he refuses to retract his criticism of Phil Stabile as being a phony'.   Holden remarks that, even as he lay "dead, and his teeth, and blood, were all over the place, . . . nobody would even go near him. This grisly image is contrasted with the relatively light punishment that Phil Stabile and his gang receive. Holden informs us that "all they did with the guys that were in the room with him was expel them.  They didn't even go to jail" . This incident is one among many examples of the rule of the strong over the weak in the society of Holden's narrative. A society that has been turned upside down those who are bad become good and who are good become bad. It nevertheless seems to have


Related Topics

Literature Humans Book censorship in the Republic of Ireland Literary realism The Catcher in the Rye Human behavior Prostitution Holden Allie Holden Caulfield

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