The Catcher in the Rye
In Jerome David Salinger’s book The Catcher in the Rye the difficulties In Holden’s life sends you through a thrilling adventure through all Holden have been through. The short story Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut also shows the drama of a little girl named Ramona. Ramona has an alcohol addictive mother who thinks Ramona is in serious trouble. Ramona’s mother creates an imagery friend from Ramona to help her out with things and to keep her company while she is playing. In The Catcher in the Rye Holden does not have an imagery friend but he does have friends to talk to when he needs someone to talk to. Through all life’s unexpected happenings Holden and Ramona rose to the occasion or fell to the pressures.
The book The Catcher in the Rye is centered on Holden Caulfield, a seventeen-year-old narrator and central character of the novel. He addresses the reader directly from a mental hospital or sanitarium in southern California. Holden begins at Pencey Prep, a private school in Pennsylvania, on the Saturday afternoon of the traditional football game with school rival, Saxon Hall. Holden finds himself in many unusual situations. He keeps running away from home and not even thinking of turning back. He went to New York one time to experience life there. Holden’s conflicts are like what Salinger had growing
up. Holden lost a very important person to him, his brother. Salinger also lost many close family members too. In the end Holden is at the sanitarium in California. He doesn’t want to tell us any more. The whole story has only made him miss people, such as his brother.
The short story “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut” was another short story written by Salinger. In Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, Eloise an alcoholic mother believes that her little girl Ramona is in serious trouble. She has a make believe friend named Jimmy who provides her with the entertainment that lacks in her neighborhood. Eloise once loved Walt Glass, who died over seas in an explosion. Seeking a love for replacement, she found Lew whose role in this story is that he once referred to Eloise’s hurt ankle as uncle wiggily. In a drunken rage, Eloise forces her daughter to sleep in the middle of her bed. This is also related to The Catcher in the Rye and Salinger’s life in the fact that everyone has lost a loved one in their life. Holden his brother, Salinger his family member, and Eloise her husband. Salinger chooses to write stories like this to show that salvation is possible, and that we are not all fated to a life of phoniness and disgust.
One of the themes in the story is emotions. This is the main theme. I have brought this up before about each person in the novel dieing. That’s where all the emotions come from. Whenever you lose a family member or someone close to you you’re bound to show emotion. As in the two stories and in Salinger’s life. Holden showed emotion when he was fail in high school. Holden said,
“Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.” “Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it.” Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game, all rightI’ll admit that. But if you
get on the other side, where there aren’t any hot-shots, then what’s a game about it? Nothing. No game.” (Chapter 2)
That showed some of Holden’s emotions in the beginning of the novel. Mr. Antolini said, “I have a feeling that you’re riding for some kind of terrible, terrible fall. . . . The whole arrangement’s designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with. . . . So they gave up looking.” ( Chapter 24) Holden has just left his parents’ apartment, following his conversation with Phoebe, and he is reaching a point of serious insecurity, having just bursting into tears. Phoebe lent him her Christmas money. He goes to Mr. Antolini’s because he feels he can trust and open your heart to in him. This is another emotion Holdne had.
New York is a symbol in this story. I see New York as a fast moving city. In The Catcher in the Rye, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut and Salinger’s own life they were all fast moving and at a fast paced action. Very Similar to New York which has people moving from building to building and sidewalk packed to the limit. In Holden’s life, main character in The Catcher in the Rye, he has to move on from his brother dieing. He moves on from that pretty fast. In Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut Eloise moves on fast
from the passing away of her husband. New York is also where Holden shows his individuality and independence. Holden says,
“Ackley took another look at my hat . . . “Up home we wear a hat like that to shoot deer in, for Chrissake,” he said. “That’s a deer shooting hat.” “Like hell it
is.” I took it off and looked at it. I sort of closed one eye, like I was taking aim at it. “This is a people shooting hat,” I said. “I shoot people in this hat.” ( Chapter 3)
Holden uses the hat as a mark of individuality and independence. We see how deeply his desire for independence is connected to his feeling of isolation, to the anger he has for the rest of the world.
The last is characterization and the Will to move on. Everyone in their respected books or life moved on from their troubles and difficulties in life. They all went their separate ways in order to be happy. Holden tried to ignore his past and move on from it. Holden said, “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. . . . Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.”(Chapter 16) He meant by that that after moving on people may not be different but he would. Holden would change in personality, character, and sprit and also would change his mind direction in life.
In conclusion Salinger’s life, The Catcher in the Rye and Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut are not all that different books. They have many similar characteristics. Then again each book does have their own differences. As would any two books. Many people prefer The Catcher in the Rye because of its direction of teenage rebellion, but I enjoyed “Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut” because of the little humor in it. In the end Holden says,
“I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliffI mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.”
Salinger does a great job of relating many aspects in each of his books and that is why he is a great author.
1.Hale, John K. J.D. Salinge’s Catcher in the Rye. Blooms Notes. 1996. Chesum House Publisher.
2.Simmons, Joseph.”No Catcher in the Rye.” In Modern Fiction Studies, Vol. IX, NO 4, Winter, 1963-64. pp 370-76.
3.Topper, Martha. “In Memoriam: Allie Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. In Mosaic. Vol. XV, No1 Canter, 1982. pp 129-40.