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What are the themes of The Catcher in the Rye? Show more Show less

J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye is a well-known coming of age story. It has also caused controversy because of its sexual content and use of profanity. What are the themes of The Catcher in the Rye, and how does the main character, Holden Caulfield, react to the world around him?

The Catcher in the Rye is about innocence and childhood Show more Show less

Throughout the book, Holden tries to protect the innocence of those around him.
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Jane Gallagher

Holden Caulfield is worried about the innocence of his childhood friend, Jane Gallagher.
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The Catcher in the Rye books education literature reading

Context

The Argument

At the beginning of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield worries about his childhood friend, Jane Gallagher. After discovering his roommate, Stradlater, was taking her on a date, he reflects upon their friendship. He also becomes angry at him for corrupting her innocence. When they were kids, Holden and Jane would play chess together, Jane would keep her kings in the back row, something he still remembers years later. Since they were friends since childhood, Holden associates her with youth.[1] Stradlater has a reputation for dating a lot of girls, a trait Holden knows about. After the date, Holden confronts his roommate about taking Jane into the back of Ed Banky's car. They end up fighting, and Holden loses.

Counter arguments

Holden Caulfield is unfairly treating Jane Gallagher like a child despite being the same age. He associates her with childhood only because they knew each other when they were kids themselves. Jane is mature enough to make her own choices, so Hold should not hold her to the expectations of a child.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Holden Caulfield is worried about his friend, Jane Gallagher. [P2] Holden associates Jane with youth and childhood. [P3] Therefore, the theme of The Catcher in the Rye is innocence and childhood.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Jane Gallagher is only tangentially related to Holden's youth.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://medium.com/@ninja7.2004/despair-trauma-and-loss-of-innocence-the-catcher-in-the-rye-4d51e975c080

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This page was last edited on Friday, 3 Apr 2020 at 09:24 UTC