Here are just some Literary Elements of The Catcher in Rye
Some other Literary Elements in The Catcher in the Rye
Other examples of Literary Elements:
- Foreshadowing
- Imagery, Symbols and Allegory
- Irony and Tone

-The Main conflict in this story has to do with man vs. self/society . I classify it in these categories because Holden is ultimately struggling to maintain his own innocence in a fight that only involves himself . In a way he use his hat as a buffer or security blanket to hide his true self because he is afraid and insecure. His fight with society deals with him being alone not having anyone that relates to him besides Jane and Phoebe everyone else is just a phony trying to manipulate him.

-The title of The Catcher In The Rye is an allusion to a poem written by Robert Burns

Comin' Thro' The Rye
By Robert Burns
If a body meet a body,
Comin' thro' the rye,
If a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry?
Every lassie has her laddie,
Nane, they say, ha'e I;
Yet a' the lads they smile on me,
Comin' thro' the rye.
If a body meet a body,
Comin' frae the town,
If a body greet a body,
Need a body frown?
Every lassie has her laddie,
Nane, they say, ha'e I;
Yet a' the lads they smile on me,
Comin' thro' the rye.
Amang the train there is a swain,
I dearly love mysel'
But what's his name, or where's his hame,
I dinna choose to tell.
Every lassie has her laddie,
Nane, they say, ha'e I;
Yet a' the lads they smile on me,
Comin' thro' the rye.

-We can smoke till they start screaming at us

-"I certainly began to feel like a prize horse's ass, though, sitting there all by myself." (86)
"He bored me to death. Living with him was like living in a museum. It was drafty, full of vast open spaces and slippery floors." (10)
-"At times I felt like his prostitute and I'm sure on occasion he probably felt that way too." (10)
-"The cab I had was a real old one that smelled like someone'd just tossed his cookies in it." (81)
-"It was like this secret longing I felt to replace the void he left with something or someone else." (26)
-"Mr. Antolini lit another cigarette. He smoked like a fiend." (186)

-"It's really ironical, because I'm six foot two and a half and I have gray hair. I really do. The one side of my head–the right side–is full of millions of gray hairs. I've had them ever since I was a kid. And yet I still act sometimes like I was only about twelve." (9)
- "
It's really ironical, because I'm six foot two and a half and I have gray hair." (Ch. 2)
- "It's no fun to be yellow. Maybe I'm not all yellow. I don't know. I think maybe I'm just partly yellow and partly the type that doesn't give much of a damn if they lose their gloves" (Ch. 13)
-"It was playing "Oh, Marie!" It played that same song about fifty years ago when I was a little kid." (210)
-"She [Phoebe] has bout five thousand notebooks. You never saw a kid with so many notebooks." (160)

Point of View
-The book is written through the point of view of Holden Caufield. This is in the First Person point of view

- “He put my goddam paper down then looked at me like he’d just beaten hell out of me in ping-pong or something.” (12)
- “That guy Morrow was about as sensitive as a goddam toilet seat.” (55)
- "She was about as kindhearted as a goddam wolf. You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phony stuff in the movies, and nine times out of ten they're mean bastards at heart. I'm not kidding." (140)



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- Holden’s hunting hat: Holden's Hat represents Holden’s isolation from society; he loves this hat because it symbolizes his independence from others; the hat, like Holden, is out of place in such a big city as New York; Holden sees himself as the catcher in the rye when he wears this hat; he tries to articulate this when he says to Ackley, "I shoot people in this hat." The hat also helps Holden identify himself as a martyr for innocence, since he is often ridiculed for wearing it. As the story progresses, Holden becomes more and more attached to his hat, demonstrating his growing commitment to his fantasy of being the catcher in the rye.
Holden begins to see his hat as a security blanket. He puts it on when he has been hurt physically or mentally. Also, since he feels judged for wearing the hat, he feels a level of rebellion every time he wears it, because he doesn't care what people think.

- New York City: this setting of the story is very fitting because like Holden, the city is constantly changing and transforming, learning new things and finding new experiences; Holden’s mind is like the city— always absorbing new experiences but never being able to come to any rational conclusion about them.
- The Museum:
Holden tells us the symbolic meaning of the museum's displays: they appeal to him because they are frozen and unchanging. He also mentions that he is troubled by the fact that he has changed every time he returns to them. The museum represents the world Holden wishes he could live in: it's the world of his “catcher in the rye” fantasy, a world where nothing ever changes, where everything is simple, understandable, and infinite. Holden is terrified by the unpredictable challenges of the world—he hates conflict, he is confused by Allie's senseless death, and he fears interaction with other people.
- The Ducks at the Central Park Lagoon: The ducks and their pond are symbolic in several ways. Their mysterious perseverance in the face of an inhospitable environment resonates with Holden's understanding of his own situation. In addition, the ducks prove that some vanishings are only temporary. Traumatized and made acutely aware of the fragility of life by his brother Allie's death, Holden is terrified by the idea of change and disappearance. The ducks vanish every winter, but they return every spring, thus symbolizing change that isn't permanent, but cyclical. Finally, the pond itself becomes a minor metaphor for the world as Holden sees it, because it is “partly frozen and partly not frozen.” The pond is in transition between two states, just as Holden is in transition between childhood and adulthood.
- The Carousel: The carousel , or merry-go-round, represents the carefree days of childhood. Holden seems emotionally stuck in childhood, unable to develop into a young man. He goes from one school to another, then another. In effect, he is going in circles. Will Phoebe, whom Holden is watching as she rides the carousel, end up like Holden?
- The Broken Record: Before going home to talk with Phoebe, Holden buys her a record with a song entitled "Little Shirley Beans." However, while walking toward Central Park, he drops it and it shatters. Perhaps the record represents Holden. After his latest failure, he goes home "in pieces," emotionally distraught.
-The record could also represent Holden's childhood and innocence. He does not want to let it go, although he is being pushed to do just that. Even though he tries to keep the record safe it breaks. That means even though he tries to keep his innocence safe it slips away regardless. Holden has to grow into an adult because his childhood has been shattered like the record. He must move forward.
-Ice Skates: In the somewhat beginning of the story, he mentioned that his mother bought him ice skates.
It also relates to the hockey skates that he lost at the station. It can be a symbol for being alone.

- Growing Up Is Hard to Do: In terms of psychological and emotional development, Holden Caulfield seems stuck in adolescence, unable to advance. He envies other teenagers and young adults who have less trouble adjusting than he does. But to protect his ego and preserve his self-esteem (which is already low), he refuses to acknowledge his shortcomings and face himself. Rather, he continually harps on the shortcomings of others. He thinks the outer world is at fault for his problems, not his own inner world. Holden's refusal to confront his weaknesses makes it difficult for him to mature and grow emotionally.

- Loneliness and Alienation: Holden has been unable to make any real friends or confidants, save for his little sister, Phoebe, and Jane Gallagher, whom he befriended in childhood. He lacked social skills normal kids had in general, and this has led into his teenage problems. He is incapable of connecting with the world, though he secretly wants to. Consequently, he feels lonely and depressed. It is his isolation and depression–along with his failure to face his shortcomings that bring about his emotional breakdown.
- Escape: Unable to solve his problems, Holden continually escapes from them. He escapes school by flunking out. He escapes the company of others by arguing with them or insulting them. He even leaves school four days ahead of schedule to have a few days on his own in New York City. There, he asks Sally Hayes to escape with him to Vermont or Massachusetts. He wants her to camp out with him and leave the world behind. When she refuses, he insults her and she walks out on him.

- Lack of Commitment: Holden aimlessly drifts from school to school and refuses to commit himself to definite goals for the future. His father was a Roman Catholic but fell away from his religion. D.B. was a writer of promise but abandoned serious writing to produce schlock for big bucks in Hollywood.
- The Search for Identity: In his effort to "find himself," Holden buys a red hunting hat. Wearing it makes him unique. No one else around him has such a hat. Therefore, by wearing the hat, he becomes an individual
- Abandonment: Holden may feel abandoned for the following reasons: (1) Time and again, his parents send him to a boarding school. (2) His brother D.B. lives on the West Coast, nearly 3,000 miles away. (3) His brother Allie died. (4) His childhood crush, Jane Gallagher, has decided to date Ward Stadlater, a Pencey Prep ladies' man. (5) His peers continually reject him because of his abrasive manner.
- Rebellion: Holden has perfected the art of rebellion–against his school, his peers, his parents, and society in general. He uses rebellion as a defence mechanism because he feels he could not fit in if he tried.
- Deception: Holden sees others as phonies because he thinks they pretend to be what they are not. However, Holden himself sometimes pretends to be what he is not. He also lies frequently about his age and his identity in order to overcome adverse circumstances. He also tells Mrs. Morrow, a train passenger with whom he converses, that he has a brain tumor.
- Hope: There seems to be a glimmer of hope for Holden. He reads good literature, including works by Ring Lardner, Thomas Hardy, and W. Somerset Maugham. He also loves his parents, in spite of any faults they may have, noting on the first page of the novel that "They're nice and all." In addition, although he too often generalizes about people–calling many of them phonies even though he knows little about them–he does seem to recognize the importance of sincerity, candor, and modesty.
Holden is always talking about how big of a sex Maniac he is when he only briefly describes sexual activities a couple of times. But for some odd reason he is not able to hold these relationships with issues including scarred of becoming an adult, lack of confidence, and of course a hatred of phonies.

I found a cool chart that shows similarities between Holden Caulfield and the author of The Catcher in the Rye J.D Salinger. just thought it was interesting.

Holden Caulfield
J. D. Salinger
Born and raised in New York City
Born and raised in New York City
Attends several boarding schools but does not graduate
Graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy; attended several colleges but did not graduate
Parents Are of Different Religious Faiths
Parents Were of Different Religious Faiths
Parents Are Well-to-Do
Parents Were Well-to-Do
Undergoes Psychiatric Treatment
Hospitalized for Stress After Serving in World War II
Isolates Himself From Others
Lives Exclusively in New Hampshire