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Catcher in the Rye 3

  • Date Submitted: 11/30/2010 09:54 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64.5 
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Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye, should long be remembered as
an American classic. Although some may not consider it one of the most
eloquently written stories of its time, it certainly captures the reader’s
attention. Salinger is able to incorporate philosophical views throughout the
story in terms of Holden’s ethical code; at the same time, he keeps the reader
entranced with radical turns of events and Holden’s character.
As far as ethics is concerned, Holden has his fair share of bad moral
judgments. He demonstrates a very negative principle when he decides, “...
I’d get the hell out of Pency-right that same night and all. I mean not wait till
Wednesday or anything. I just didn’t want to hang around any more” (51).
In this simple action, Holden gives himself away as a man of little reasoning.
He shows that he has no desire to have his life run by authority, so he packs
up his belongings and leaves at will. A second show of disagreeable morals
is presented in the form of Holden’s drinking habit, “I ordered a Scotch and
soda, which is my favorite drink, next to frozen Daiquiris” (85). Drinking in
itself does not constitute moral corruption, yet drinking at Holden’s young
age, does. Holden turns to liquor as a scapegoat, and has failed to see the
error in his ways. Although the prior two offenses are large, perhaps the most
obvious flaw in character for Holden was his intention to entertain a
prostitute, “I kept hoping she’d be good-looking. I didn’t care too much,
though. I sort of wanted to get it over with” (93). Whereas drinking is
considered deviant only because of Holden’s young age, the purchase of a
prostitute at any age cannot be condoned. For whatever reason, Holden did
not use sound judgment in deciding to engage in the company of a harlot.
Obviously, Holden needs some ethical guidance, but perhaps not all is lost
with him.
Throughout the novel, Holden finds a way to redeem his own...


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