Essay, Research Paper: Catcher In The Rye

Literature: Catcher in The Rye

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Does the Voice Matter? How important is the voice that tells a story? It seems
almost trivial to claim that the same story can change because of the voice
telling it to you. Does the voice and point of view of the narrator play a large
enough role in a novel to change the attitude of the reader about the novel?
J.D.. Salinger uses the dominant character of Holden Caulfield to be the first
person narrator of his novel The Catcher in the Rye. The key to Holden’s
narrative voice is the fact that it added life and a connection to the
character. This voice transforms an otherwise lifeless story to a jump start and
electric novel. In order to find out how important this narrator was to the
story we will compare the novel The Catcher in the Rye to the piece “A Slight
Rebellion of Madison”(the summary of the very same novel as told in third
person omniscient). In looking at the importance of Holden’s role we will
first look at the summary of the novel. In “Slight Rebellion off Madison”
the character of Holden Caulfield has been eliminated and an outside third
person narrator replaces him. This version goes through the story explaining the
basic outlining of The Catcher in the Rye. The outline is what the summary gives
to the reader and that’s all it gives. The basic plot is average, but with out
the connection to the reader it keeps the reader on the outside through the
whole thing. The plot tells the happenings of a young man named Holden
Caulfield, but without really knowing to much about the character of Holden the
plot line is lifeless and boring for the reader. We see the experiences that
Holden goes through, but the reader doesn’t get involved. It is hard for most
readers to sympathize with Holden therefore Salinger relies on the connection
Holden makes with the reader to get the reader involved in the life of Holden.
What about Holden’s narrative voice causes such a giant impact on the novel? I
s it his loud personality or just that the reader is allowed to but put in the
position as his best friend. Salinger starts the novel right away with Holden
trying to relate to the reader. “If you really want to hear about it, the
first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my
lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied all before they had
me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going
into it, if you want to know the truth.” Throughout the entire novel Holden
uses slang and swear words to give the reader a more familiar feeling to him.
Salinger makes it seem as though Holden is confiding everything to the reader.
this is the key to the novel and why it is more than a simple story line.

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