The Catcher in the Rye
Mariah Robichaud, Nick Diggle,
Sarah Sehl, Brynn Hailey, and
Alexia Hawkey-Noble
MLA Citation
• Strauch, Carl F. “On the Complexity of
Holden’s Character”. Catcher in the Rye:
Bloom’s Guide (2006): 43-47. Print.
The Rhetorical¹ Situation
Strauch wrote this essay to analyze and
prove the complexity of the character Holden
Caulfield, as one of innocence and diversity,
in J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the
The essay is directed towards the scholars
(already familiar with the subject of
psychology) and audience of the novel The
Catcher in the Rye and.
Strauch’s essay was written to inform the
readers of the complexity, of and behind, the
character Holden as The Catcher. It covered
varying ideas that Holden was both innocent
(immature, a child) and hypocritical (verging
on adulthood), as it proved he was just as phony
as the society that he judged, often committing
the same phony acts. This was done by showing
the background information that Salinger used
to create Holden as a character.
One could also say that this essay was
written to persuade the audience of The Catcher
in the Rye, of Holden’s innocence and
complexity. This was done through the
constant examples given directly from the
Author’s Message
The author uses great detail, quotes and
comparisons to demonstrate that Holden is a character
leading two lives(complexity). The life society has
brought down on him and the psychological life that is
secret but is moral and literate. The quote that best
conveys Carl Strauch’s message is “But the
psychological intent becomes symbolical portent when
we see that the mass idiom emphasizes a significant
distinction between two worlds – the phony corrupt
materialism and Holden’s private world of innocence
which, in its corporate love, embraces a secret goldfish…
“The irony is profounder than that because the
meaning is profounder: a Holden who has accepted both
the mood and the act of responsibility with Phoebe does
not require psychoanalytic therapy, for he has
miraculously wrought his own cure and has thus
spiritually escaped the social rigidities that would be
imposed upon him.”(43) – this excerpt represents
Holden`s complexity as it outlines, from the novel, that
Holden does not need psychoanalytic therapy (though
he receives it anyway) as he clearly finds his own
answers and response for the oppressed culture around
him. Holden does so by creating his own secret world,
in contrast to Phoebe who is entirely unaware and
“The slob Holden is more prominent, but the literate
Holden is more intrinsic, for like Isak Dinesn he can use
language to express sensitive insights and human joys”.
“For his private world Holden uses a literate and
expressive English, and so the profounder psychological and
symbolical purposes of slob language may be detected only as
idiom functions in polarized relationship with the other”
“The… Holden employs slob language for a public world
that is varyingly indifferent and cruel and usually phony
and literate speech for his private world emerges beautifully...
irritated about it”.
“The Catcher lies in an awareness of the dualism or
ambivalence of language, for Holden employs both the slob and
the literate idiom”.
“We may thus perceive that Salinger has employed
neurotic deterioration, symbolic death, spiritual awakening,
and psychological self-cure as the inspiration and burden of
an elaborate patter—verbal, thematic, and episodic, that yields
the meaning as a discursive examination of Holden’s character
and problem out of metaphoric context can never do.” (43) –
Saying what creates the complexity of Holden.
- “Recognition of the truth would embrace the love and
compassion that it has not time for but that Holden himself
lavishes on his secret world but extends to the public world in
episodes and reflections rounded off with a minor verbal
pattern…” (46) – Strauch shows the audience the phoniness
of Holden.
- “The literary Salinger has, of course, created a literate
and even literary artistic Holden, capable of acute aesthetic
as well as moral judgments.” (44) – This shows the
hypocrisy of Holden.
“As a start, the readiest way of understanding The
Catcher lies in an awareness of the dualism or ambivalence of
language, for Holden employs both the slob and the literate
idiom.” (43-44) – By talking in improper slang and
sometimes inappropriate language, Holden tries to be a part of
what he calls phony, by doing so, connecting him to society
and not being alone. Holden also represents a young and
unintelligent boy as he would like to be perceived. However,
whilst explaining his story in the narrative form instead of his
corrupt dialogue, Holden shows that he in fact is quite
intelligent, reading books such as The Great Gatsby. Strauch
also says this when he writes, “He thus may justify himself in
his overt being and may hope to secure immunity from attack
and rationalize his ‘belonging’; slob language, therefore, hits
off two important social themes—security and status.” (44)
- The authors tone in this critical of the Holden
character is complimentary, authoritative and
optimistic as Strauch loved the many layers
Salinger placed on the character Holden.
- It is also informative (straight-forward) and
persuasive as he reflects on Holden’s character,
informing the reader in a stately matter and he
furthermore tries to persuade the audience of
Holden’s complexity.
- - He uses a higher, more intelligent level of
language to do so, often going into great detail.
Language and Style (Genre)
• This is an informative essay. Strauch uses many
language features such as sentence structure, irony,
italicized and quoted words, dashes, parentheses and
allusions to create the informative.
• Strauch’s sentence structure is quite often long with
very few pauses. He does use a sentence structure that is
mostly parallel, and there are a few colloquial phrases. “the
most casual manner” (46), “to the very core” (43)
• Irony is used to emphasize a certain remark. This is
shown when Strauch says that Holden uses slob language
but is an intellect.
• By using italicized words and phrases, Staruch is able
to stress his point well. “The Catcher” (45, 46, 47) –
represents Holden and his want to be The Catcher.
“confidante” (45).
• He uses quotes from the novel as his evidence to support
the points of his thesis.
• Dashes are used by Staruch to create a momentary
dramatic pause in a rather long sentence or are used as
semi-colon, to separate two different but related thoughts.
For example, “…therefore, hits off two important social
themes—security and status.” (44)
• Strauch also uses parentheses to insert his own unique
ideas. “(all children, in fact)” (44), “(italics mine)” (45)
and “(or cared to see)” (46) are all examples of this.
• Allusions are used just as quotes, to prove contextual
support for his thesis. Such as when he alludes to places in
New York, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and David
Diction: The vocabulary of Carl F. Strauch
is mind blowing and complicated in this article.
This author breaks through the common diction
and leads the reader through a maze of words.
Some of his most complex words are
Rousseauistic, neurotic, thematic, episodic,
dualism, idiom, psychoanalytic and
interpolations. He uses these words to match and
compare to the ambivalent language used in The
Catcher in the Rye.
The ideas shown in the essay are introduced up front, and
explained throughout the piece, making them more solid. The essay
keeps the main message through the entirety of it, never branching
off on a tangent.
The essay starts off with an unusual introduction, which
goes straight into the complexity of Holden`s character, leading
into a paragraph that explains his thesis without clearly stating the
points on which to elaborate. The body consists of an explanation of
the unstated points of the thesis. Paragraphs are long like the
sentences contained within them. Each paragraph is adequately
linked by a small and unnoticeable transition. The conclusion is
fairly short in contrast to the rest of the essay and its paragraphs.
The essay is fluent, with very few spots that do not connect or runon sentences.
The essay was unclear at times; however it was kept mostly
Our Opinion
- We quite enjoyed this essay. It gave us a deeper
understanding of Holden`s character and it made
us think of our own opinions about him, whereas the
book did not. It was intriguing but hard to read at
times, as it seemed to be directed at an audience that
we were not really apart of.
- Strauch does a very accurate critic and really shows
things that the common reader could miss. He back
ups his ideas with proof and is confident with all the
symbolism. His critic gives me a new outlook on the
book and allows me to pay attention to the details as
Strauch did so well.
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