You will notice that Holden talks a lot about being depressed in the short novel. He is also saddened by seemingly mundane things, another symptom of clinical depression.
In The Catcher in the Rye, the major themes reflect the values and motivations of the characters. Some of these themes are outlined in the following sections. As its title indicates, the dominating theme of The Catcher in the Rye is the protection of innocence, especially of children.
It is very closely related to his struggle against growing up. Holden's enemy is the adult world and the cruelty and artificiality that it entails. The people he admires all represent or protect innocence. He thinks of Jane Gallagher, for example, not as a maturing young woman but as the girl with whom he used to play checkers.
He goes out of his way to tell us that he and Jane had no sexual relationship. Quite sweetly, they usually just held hands. Holden comforted Jane when she was distressed, and it bothers him that Jane may have been subjected to sexual advances from her drunken stepfather or from her date, Holden's roommate, Stradlater.
Holden's secret goal is to be "the catcher in the rye. Children play in the field with joy and abandon. If they should come too close to the edge of the cliff, however, Holden is there to catch them. His attitude seems to shift near the end of the novel when he realizes that Phoebe and other children must be allowed to "grab for the gold ring," to choose their own risks and take them, even though their attempts may be dangerous.
Death Death is another consistent theme in the novel. It is continually implied by the presence of Holden's younger brother's spirit, even though Allie has been dead for about three years. When Holden fears for his own existence, such as when he feels that he might disappear, he speaks to Allie.
He is haunted by the thought of Allie in the rainy cemetery surrounded by tombstones and dead people. Holden associates death with the mutability of time. He wishes that everything could just stay the way it is, that time could stand still, especially when something beautiful happens.
When he compares this to the displays under glass at the museum, Holden seems to be rejecting life itself.
Aging and mutability are inevitable. It isn't just that society wants Holden to grow up; his own biological condition insists that he become an adult.
When he resists change, Holden is fighting the biological clock that eventually will result in old age and death.
He also resists simply growing up.According to most analyses, The Catcher in the Rye is a bildungsroman, a novel about a young character’s growth into maturity. While it is appropriate to discuss the novel in such terms, Holden Caulfield is an unusual protagonist for a bildungsroman because his central goal is to resist the process of maturity itself.
Throughout the novel he encounters many characters who do seem affected, pretentious, or superficial—Sally Hayes, Carl Luce, Maurice and Sunny, and even Mr.
Spencer stand out as examples. Some characters, like Maurice and Sunny, are genuinely harmful. The Catcher in the Rye study guide contains a biography of J.D.
Salinger, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.
Loneliness Holden’s loneliness, a more concrete manifestation of his alienation problem, is a driving force throughout the book. J.D.
Salinger's use of second-person point-of-view should be taken in this way: the The entire novel The Catcher in the Rye is told from the confines of a mental institution. The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J.
D. Salinger. A controversial novel originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescents for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.