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Colloquial Connections

Theyre quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. Theyre
nice and all-Im not saying that-but theyre also touchy as hell. Besides, Im not go-
ing to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything. (Salinger, 1951, p. 1)
The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D Salinger is a book that breaks the tradition of
novel writing by implementing a very colloquial and brute way of language. Even
though he promotes a vulgar style of writing The Catcher in the Rye has become a
model for future books. Through his colloquial style J.D Salinger has been able to
create a more personal way of writing. In other words he has been able to build a
connection between the reader and the book. The novel is filled with moods and
tones from the author that helps to identify how his life was and how it helped give
birth to such a wonderful yet bizarre story. With the help of the colloquial form of
language The Catcher in the Rye has served as an aid in several murders and
crimes in the past. Its language is filled with the power to alter peoples perceptions
of life. J.D Salingers novel despite having a distinct form of language has become
one of the most notorious books known to American Literature.
Holden Caulfield begins the novel by talking about his family. He mentions
that they are touchy about everything. He later states that his childhood has been
lousy. The way J.D Salinger has written both passages creates a direct connec-
tion to the reader because everyone at least once in their lifetime thinks that they
are lousy or that their family is weird and picky. The word chosen by Salinger tap
into the readers subconscious and makes them sympathies with Holden. In my
opinion this is a good way to hook the reader to the book; even though it contains


rough and direct language. Another situation where we get a propensity of a con-
nection being created by the book is when Holden is having a conversation with
Spencer in chapter 2:
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 its a game, all rightIll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there
arent any hot-shots, then whats a game about it? Nothing. No game. (Salinger, 1951, p.
5)

With this quote the reader gets a sense of the world and how its as real as it gets.
This quote to many readers cannot only create a connection but can also serve as
a symbol to a father and son conversation that everyone has. Since J.D Salinger is
a realist author this makes perfect sense with the style of writing present in the
book and the type of language that the author demonstrates.
J.D Salinger the author of Catcher in the Rye is realist author. With out
doubt the character Holden Caulfield represents a younger version of himself. J.D
Salingers own experiences from childhood are brushed all over the book mixed in
with Holden. This is another source of the language seen through out the book. In
J.D Salingers childhood he went through vast amounts of prep schools, failing
each one and moving on to the next. This could be the reason why Holden like Sal-
inger leaves his prep school and travels to New York City (Salingers Birthplace).
Through Holden, we can experience Salingers hate towards prep schools. They
dont do any damn more molding at Pencey than they do at any other school. (Sal-
inger, 1951, p. 2) Going back to New York City, its the place where Salinger was
born and where he spent most of his child hood. In the book the author provides a
desire to go back to the past. Salinger includes aspects of his childhood like The
Museum of Natural History, where we see Holden demonstrate a strong connec-


tion to it because of what it symbolizes. The Museum symbolizes his past and how
things dont change. This could also mean the same to Salinger. Catcher in the
Rye is filled with details that come strait out of the authors life. This is probably one
of the causes of the language seen in this book. By implementing his experiences
he also includes his amorphous style of speaking.
Through the years since The Catcher in the Rye was published there have
been many killings in its name. It is believed that the cause of these killing comes
from the language present in the book. In 1980 in the city of New York John Len-
non, famous songwriter and singer was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman.
Mark was no erudite, investigators found out that Mark had a mental disease mak-
ing him mentally unstable. They also found out that he had been reading Catcher
in the Rye, and what ultimately lead to him killing John Lennon was that he was a
phony. Mark had in a way identified with Holdens beliefs about phonies and de-
cided that John Lennon was one; He was not mentally stable. That being said, he
read Catcher in the Rye and strongly identified with the main character (Holden
Caulfield), especially his take on "phony" people.(Bresler, 1990) This is a good
example of how the language used by Salinger in the book can be a strong influ-
ence toward good or bad people, especially ones who are mentally unstable. To-
wards the end of the assassination, Mark David Chapman wrote, I am Holden
Caulfield inside his copy of the Catcher in the Rye. Language can pose as a
strong influence in peoples lives, like in Mark David Chapmans. In other words
language has the power to manipulate people into doing things that they never be-
lieved they would do but in the end it all comes down to how strong the words are
and how weak minded the reader is.


The Catcher in the Rye is a novel that takes the reader into a distinct world
of language. It excels in ostracizing all forms of common styles by introducing a
more personal one. This colloquial style of language has many advantages and
disadvantages. The advantages being that it provides a profound connection be-
tween the reader and the characters; the disadvantages being its brute way of ex-
pressing things and its power of manipulating morons. Although The Catcher in
the Rye may seem like a hysterical novel, it resides among the best pieces of lit-
eratures ever to be written.




Bibliography
Salinger, J. (1951). The Catcher in the Rye. Boston, MA, USA: Little, Brown and
Company.
Bresler, Fenton (1990). Who Killed John Lennon. St. Martin's Press