Use Of Literary Elements Essay, Research Paper
Use of Literary Elements
There are many important elements to The Catcher in the Rye but there are two that stand out from the rest by a great margin. These elements of the novel are the message that the book gives to reader as well as the style of writing that J.D. Salinger uses while writing the book. The messages can be seen clearly and are very important to the book, but they are not an original theme for a book. What does set the ideas in this book apart from other books with the same theme is the writing style that Salinger uses in the book; this writing style is called stream of consciousness writing.
Stream of consciousness writing is a type of writing that is not typically used in books because of its well defined limits. These limits are that when using stream of consciousness narration, the story line is required to revolve around one and only one main character if the writing is to be effective. With S. of C. writing it is also required that the author develop the main character extremely well into a very believable person both emotionally and physically through thoughts and actions. To write an effective book in this writing style an author must be exceptionally talented, and thankfully Mr. Salinger is just that. The S. of C. writing style is used effectively with the character of Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye because the story line Mr. Salinger developed follows Holden specifically as well as the fact that the subject matter of the book is one of an personal nature.
The ideas in the book are presented as thoughts of Holden through out the story. These topics include the fakeness of the world, as well as the rebellion against the world that many teenagers have. Holden does not like the phonies in the world and constantly voices his opinion about it as well. The rebellion against the world in not a conscious thing that Holden does but it is apparent in the story line of the book. An example of this rebellion is the constant use of profanity in the book. Salinger makes good use of the constant profanity to show this rebellion but because of Holden+s character it is not out of context. Because Holden is upper-middle class and educated he used profanity to exemplify points that he is trying to make, not because he is swearing out of anger. Basically Salinger has Holden swear because he knows that it is socially unacceptable but he can do it because of his good education as a shock factor.
Another good use of of how the stream of consciousness writing style is used as literary tool is with in the thoughts of Holden. In The Catcher in the Rye the character of Holden Caulfield is a mentally unstable person, he is emotional and confused. The S. of C. writing style is effective to present this idea because of its harshness and quick pace, just as the mental state of a mentally unstable person would be. The rambling of the internal thoughts of Holden are entertaining yet uncommonly real to all of us which causes the reader to wonder what his mental state is. The constant thought about the underlying ideas also are presented well with S. of C. writing style because when in real life you can not get a subject off your mind usually until you actually make a decision about it.
The final literary tool that is important to the story that Salinger does well in The Catcher in the Rye is the development of characters. Throughout the story Mr. Salinger is constantly developing Holden just as you would get to know him if you were meeting him. The extreme development bordering on overdevelopment is good though because the story revolves around Holden and Holden only. Many critics of Salinger say that he underdevelops the other characters in The Catcher in the Rye but I believe he does this purposely. If Salinger were to develop characters like Phoebe, and Sally as well as he does Holden the point of the story would have been lost. The story is being told by Holden from a mental institution so obviously he is going to be the center of the story because all people are selfish if they are given the opportunity. The different levels that people are developed, I believe, are also indicators of the different levels of respect that Holden has for people. If you look at people he held in great respect, for good or bad reasons, they are usually developed reasonably well like Phoebe, Allie, and Sally. People that Holden did not respect though were developed in almost no detail which indicated that they made no real impact on him and therefore had no real relevance in the story.
Throughout the story there are several specific examples of these literary tools that Salinger did or did not use to make his story effective. The book as a whole was the stage for the off beat writing style of stream of consciousness as well. I believe that Salinger did a good job with the different levels of character development as well as developing the plot in a way that encouraged the readers to think about these issues on their own as well as while reading the book. His talent as a writer is obvious because of the fact that he has gained so much fame for this work, as well as the fact that readers of all ages can relate to the issues that Holden is confused about, not just teenagers around Holden+s own age. Overall J.D. Salinger did a great job with the technical part of writing this book and he did a even better job getting the messages that he wanted across to the readers.