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The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger AIM : Analyze J. D. Salinger writing by using DIDLSS with help from Catcher in the Rye WARM-UP: Which specific DIDLSS was most helpful for you to further understand the works of J. D. Salinger?
J. D. Salinger • Jerome David Salinger was born in 1919 in New York City. He came from a wealthy family, growing up on Park Avenue; his father was an affluent cheese importer. Salinger was kicked out of several preparatory schools before he was finally sent to Valley Forge Military Academy. It was there where he began writing fiction. He attended Columbia University and began writing seriously. In 1940, his first story, The Young Folks, was published in the magazine Story. He was drafted into the army in 1942. He worked counter-intelligence for an American infantry and fought in the Invasion of Normandy. His writing career officially began when he returned from the Army in 1945. A year later, the New Yorker published his story light Rebellio Off Madison, which was later incorporated into The Catcher in the Rye. In 1951, The Catcher in the Rye, was published and became an instant hit, with it main character, the rebellious teenager, Holden Caulfield. Salinger went on to write several more novels, including Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour: An Introduction. He spent the rest of his days in isolation from the limelight. On January 27 th, 2010, Salinger passed away from natural causes at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. He was 91.
Detail • Quote: "It was dark as hell in the foyer, naturally, and naturally I couldn't turn on any lights. I had to be careful not to bump into anything and make a racket. I certainly knew I was home, though. Our foyer has a funny smell that doesn't smell like anyplace else. I don't know what the hell it is. It isn't cauliflower and it isn't perfume-I don't know what the hell it is- but you always know you're home. I started to take off my coat and hang it up in the foyer closet, but that closet's full of hangers that rattle like madmen when you open the door, so I left it on. Then I started walking very, very slowly back toward old Phoebe's room. I knew the maid wouldn't hear me because she had only one eardrum. She had this brother that stuck a straw down her ear when she was a kid, she once told me. She was pretty deaf and all. But my parents, especially my mother, she has ears like a goddam bloodhound. So I took it very, very easy when I past their door. I even held my breath, for God's sake. You can hit my father over the head with a chair and he won't wake up, but my mother, all you have to do to my mother is cough somewhere in Siberia and she'll hear you. She's nervous as hell. Half the time she's up all night smoking cigarettes. "
Detail • J. D. Salinger writes with a unique style of detail. He gives details of trivial things to illustrate Holden's wondering youthful mind. Salinger, also uses details to express Holden's stereotypical teenage angst. Holden is timidly analyzing every possibility of getting caught while sneaking back home late at night, when earlier he was acting very cavalier about his plan to enter his house undetected. Salinger uses details like these throughout the novel, highlighting Holden's pseudo -maturity and the fact that he knows neither what he wants nor believes.
Image • "This next part I don't remember so hot. All I know is I got up from the bed, like I was going down to the can or something, and then I tried to sock him, with all my might, right smack in the toothbrush, so it would split his goddamn throat open. Only, I missed. I didn't connect. All I did was sort of get him on the side of the head or something. It probably hurt him a little bit, but not as much as I wanted. It probably would've hurt him a lot, but I did it with my right hand, and I can't make a good fist with that hand. On account of that injury I told you about. Anyway, the next thing I knew, I was on the goddamn floor and he was sitting on my chest, with his face all red. That is, he had his goddamn knees on my chest, and he weighed about a ton. He had hold of my wrists, too, so I couldn't take another sock at him. I'd've killed him. " (Pg 43)
Image • J. D Salinger, when describing imagery, expresses his opinion and his interpretation of the situation as it is being described. He also mentions a lot about appearances and the physical aspects in given circumstances.
Diction • 'Who is your date if it isn't Fitzgerald? ' I asked him. I sat down on the washbowl next to him again. 'That Phyllis Smith babe? ''No. It was supposed to be, but the arrangements got all screwed up. I got Bud Thaw's girl's roommate now. . . Hey. I almost forgot. She knows you. ''Who does? ' I asked. 'My date. ''Yeah? ' I said. 'What's her name? ' I was pretty interested. 'I'm thinking. . . Uh. Jean Gallagher. 'Boy I nearly dropped dead when he said that. 'Jane Gallagher, ' I said. I even got up from the washbowl when he said that. I damn near dropped dead. " (p. 30 -31)
Diction • J. D. Salinger writes with a lot of monosyllabic words. The main character is a teenage boy, so the words chosen reflects the age group of the boys. The words are small and easy to understand. Salinger gets right to the point with the collection of words he chooses. They are very informal, and accurately depicts the way that boys would speak to one another. Because the words chosen get right to the point, we can tell that the diction is very concrete and specific.
Language • “All of a sudden this lady gets on at Trenton and sat down next to me. Practically the whole car was empty, because it was pretty late and all, but she sat down next to me, instead of an empty seat, because she had this big bag with her and I was sitting in the front seat. She stuck the bag right out in the middle of the aisle, where the conductor and everyone could trip over it. She had these orchids on, like she had just been to a bigparty or something. She was around forty or forty-five, I guess but she was very good-looking. Woman kill me. They really do. I don’t mean I’m oversexed or anything like that - although I am quite sexy. I just like them I mean. They’re always leaving their goddamn bags out in the middle of the aisle”(p 54)
Language • J. D. Salinger was a controversial writer. His works were generally written during two time periods, World War II, and during the 1960 s. The main characters of his books were generally misfits of society, in most he has the protagonist of the story go on a quest for happiness. Salinger does not conform to the material happiness; the characters instead undergo a more emotional happiness. The characters usually start out in bad conditions, and in the end of his works they undergone different events that change them for the better.
Syntax • Quote: " p. g. 33 "That got him really mad. He shook his big stupid finger in my face. "Holden, God Damn it, I'm warning you, now. For the last time If you don't keep your yap shut, I'm gonna-""Why should I? " I said- I was practically yelling. "That's just the trouble with all you morons. You never want to discuss anything. That's the way you can always tell a moron. They never want to discuss anything intellig-…" Then he really let one go at me, and the next thing I knew I was on the goddamn floor again. I don't remember if he knocked me out or not, but i don't think so. It's pretty hard to knock a guy out, except in the goddamn movies. But my nose was bleeding all over the place. When I looked up, old Stradlater was standing practically right on top of me. He had his goddamn toilet kit under his arm. "
Syntax • J. D. Salinger uses many different ways to create sentences. He italices certain words, to make a point. For example, "That got him Really mad" By italicising really, it gives the reader a more clearer picture of how the other character is reacting, and how he is being affected by Caufield's actions. Salinger also uses normal sized sentences, but will always use short sentences after normal sized ones. When he uses short sentences, give the reader a more dramatic effect. In the short sentences, he will often state his opinions, or give an action. By using short sentences, it gives the reader a tone that the Holden has a steadfast personality, because he only sees things one way.
Shift • "What'd he say to you? ""Oh. . . well, about Life being a game and all. And how you should plat according to the rules. He was pretty nice about it. I mean he didn't hit the ceiling or anything. He just kept talking about Life being a game and all. You know. " 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 right I’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.
Shift • Salinger uses different punctuation between the dialogue and the narration, showing how the character presents himself to the people around him and what he actually thinks of them. It is apparent that the character, Holden, has a completely different view of adults that he shows them. His responses are very short, showing that he is uninterested in what he is being told. The quick shift that Salinger uses in the character's mindset emphasizes what Holden feels towards others. These shifts help the reader to learn more about the mindset of the narrator.
Dramatic Reading • “She was right, though. It is if a body meet a body coming through the rye. I didn’t know then, though. I thought it was “if a body catch a body, ” I said. Anyway, I kept picturing all these little kids playing some game in this field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and no body around- nobody big, I mean- except me. And 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 cliff- I 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 do all day. I just be the Catcher in the Rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I really like to be. I know it’s crazy. ” (P. 173)