Perspectives

Modernism

J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye falls under modernism in literature, checking several characteristics that define the genre.

One of the characteristics of modernism is experimentation with both literary forms and language. Salinger experiments with the form of the novel, which he structures in the shape of a frame story, with a seventeen-year-old Holden recalling the events that happened when he was sixteen. Language-wise, Salinger uses a sociolect that highlights the typical way of speaking of the 1940s-1950s teenagers. Therefore, the novel becomes more authentic, and Holden’s feelings are easy to relate to. 

Modernism also deals with detachment from romanticized versions of reality. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden’s perspective illustrates a flawed society that he dislikes and tries to escape. Holden is deeply critical of his environment and often presents a cynical attitude regarding things like school, religion, the army, the world of adults, and romantic relationships. 

Modernism is also associated with the period following World War I, which brought over feel...

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