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J. D. Salinger Essay Topics & Paper Examples

“Catcher in the Rye”: Not a Bildungsroman

Bildungsroman: a coming-of-age novel. Many critics and readers alike have argued that JD Salingers Catcher in the Rye is a superb example of a bildungsroman. The novel is a narration by Holden Caulfield, a troubled and mentally unstable sixteen year-old that has just been expelled from his fourth prep school. Holden, who is undergoing treatment in a mental institution, recounts the story of his mental breakdown and the events leading up to it. He concludes the story with brief hints at his recovery. Though one assumes that Holden is receiving and responding to treatment, his attitude and tone are unchanged throughout the novel. If the protagonist has not matured since story began, how can Catcher in the Rye be considered…