The Catcher In The Rye

- foreshadowing -

The use of forshadowing in a novel can help it\'s reader get a sense of what
is to come in the story without giving away the events themselves. It is a
powerful tool which prevents events from being left unexplained, leaving the
reader question the effectivness of an outcome. The eventual breakdown of the
character Holden Caufield in J.D. Salinger\'s controversial 1945 novel "The
Catcher in the Rye" was foreshadowed in the early chapters of the book.

The first clue is his negative approach to life. He begins by talking about
his "lousy childhood" (p.1) and the first traces of profanity can be seen scattered
about the page in the form of "crap", "hell" and "goddam". Holden\'s first sign of
distrust comes when he speaks to Ward Stradlater about his date with Jane
Gallagher:

"Listen. Give my regards, willya?"
"Okay," Stradlater said, but I knew he
probably wouldn\'t...
"Ask her if she still keeps all her kings
in the back row."
"Okay," Stradlater said, but I knew he
wouldn\'t. (p.33-34)

This is seen again when he doesn\'t trust Stradlater to stop his advances of Jane in
the case that she says no. Holden gives up his faith in people to trust him when
he boards a bus holding a snowball. The driver refuses to believe that Holden
won\'t throw the snowball so he draws the conclusion that "People never believe
you." (p.37). He is also always placing labels upon people as being "phonies"
which gives the reader the idea that Holden thinks that others are materialistic.


Holdens attempts to protect the innocence in the world is another early
sign of his deteriorating state. When Holden goes to Pheobe\'s school to deliver
his note he sees some swearing of the wall which he says "drove me damn near
crazy" (p.201). He wipes the words from the wall in an attempt to prevent the
inevitable from occuring, leading the reader to believe that he may experience
some mental unstability in the future. Eventually he comes to the realization that
he can\'t rub all the profanity away himself. Another example of Holden\'s attempt
to shelter innocence is the fact that he never does call Jane, possibly for fear that
she will scar his memories of her as an innocent child. The title of this novel
presents this theme to the reader in that Holden wants to be "the catcher in the
rye" (p. ) so he can catch all of the children that sway to close to the edge of a
cliff in thier play.

Perhaps the most obvious example of foreshadowing in the novel occurs
when his parents come close to having him "phsycoanalyzed and all" (p.39) when
he breaks all the windows in the garage. Throughout the novel he refers to
himself as "a madman" (p.79) which gives the reader the idea that he sees himself
as having a sort of mental problem. These two peices of evidence alone present
a fairly firm idea of what will happen to Holden towards the end of the story.

The use of foreshadowing is evident in the novel "The Catcher in the Rye".
It does it\'s job well in that it foretells the outcome of Holdens many problems and
gives reason for it. The eventual breakdown of Holden is not startling to the
reader because of the authors use of foreshadowing and therefore it is effective.

Category: English