Runaways in “The Catcher in the Rye”

An analysis of the theme of runaways in J. D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye“.
This essay examines the novel by J.D. Salinger “The Catcher in the Rye” which portrays a disaffected youth named Holden Caulfield whom has recently been expelled from his preparatory school and who basically, instead of returning home, runs away. It looks at how, like many runaways, Holden often behaves in very childlike ways that shows he is ill equipped for a mature and adult existence.

In some ways, however, Caulfield is not so different from many young runaways today of very different socioeconomic status. Although he is from a wealthy family, he feels a strong sense of moral and social alienation from his parents as well as the peer groups of his generation that he is exposed to. He frequently dissociates from his outer lying problems, such as the fact that he is flunking out of school, rather than attempts to actively engage with them. Holden prefers to live in a world of his own internal creation, rather than the ‘real world’ in a strategy that is anything but psychologically and socially healthy. Although heterosexual many young runaways are gay, lesbian, or transgender Holden’s assurance in his sexuality seems confused.

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