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Ray Feng

How was your understanding of cultural and contextual

considerations of the work developed through the interactive
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger), is a controversial novel of literary realism
illustrating a teenagers adversaries as he tries to mature and understand the
adult world. The interactive oral allowed a deeper understanding into social,
historic and cultural factors that shaped this work and thus, enabled
identification of these contexts incorporated within The Catcher in the Rye. The
setting of the novel was placed in post-WW2 America, in which the nation was
experiencing economic recovery from the devastations of the Great Depression.
Thus, it was established that context played a large role in understanding
Salingers cultural and contextual intentions, particularly his use of skaz.
The most intriguing topic discussed during the interactive oral was Salingers
choice of character. Despite opinions stating that Catcher in the Rye seems like
the unedited thoughts and feelings of an actual teenage, the novel was written
significantly after Salingers adolescence. However, Salingers past experiences
were incorporated in his novel, almost as an allusion to his own life. The
protagonist, Holden Caulfield, was constantly changing schools in an
environment during Americas economic climb where social rules served as a
conformity for the younger generation, Since 1888 we have been molding boys
into splendid, clear-thinking young men (Pg 2). However, Salingers use of skaz
(slang) and profanity provoked much controversy due to the casual, uncensored
detail of adolescent thinking. The members of the interactive oral had a
unanimous agreement that Caulfields mind had some mental issues that
differed from the typical perception of child innocence and authenticity. However,
it was evident that he resisted maturity and lived life with unorthodoxy. His
personality was paradoxical and the text showed prominent instances where he
contradicts his own claims with his actions (Caulfields sexual confusion when
encountering a prostitute despite wanting to get in some practice).
The interactive oral provided new insights on the perception of the characters
particularly, exploring concepts of the anti-hero. Novel critic Catholic World
(November 1951) complained about the excessive use of amateur swearing and
coarse language stating how Caulfield was monotonous and phony.
Caulfields personality demonstrates an antithesis of readers expectation of a
protagonist as his characteristics do not complement what is expected of a
typical hero. Thus, suggesting a reason to why Caulfield is one of the most-loved
literary characters.
Therefore, the interactive oral provided a large basis to develop understanding of
the cultural and contextual considerations of Catcher of the Rye.
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