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Catcher in the Rye

This analysis will explore how the novel and its author reflect and influenced 1950s American culture, including its impact on future generations.

The Catcher In The Rye had an enormous impact on a generation of youth in the 1950s. The descriptions by Holden of a phony or dumb world of adults that made staying young an ideal state of development galvanized a generation of youth who felt the same. The 1950s would span the counter-hero in films, rebels like James Dean and Marlon Brando who often acted in a juvenile manner while seething contempt and cynicism at the adult world and material society around them. Salingerís books would inspire a generation of youth to reject the superficial and material values of an adult culture where you could not win unless the deck was stacked in your favor. As John Romano argues in the essay Salinger Was Playing Our Song: ďAs a class, those who were young and literate in the Eisenhower and Kennedy years can be said to have receives such images with utter credulity and in a state of mind resembling awe. Some of us founded not only our literary taste but also a portion of our identity on Holden Caulfield: we were smart kids in a dumb world or sensitive kids in a phony one, and Salinger was playing our songĒ (1).

We see the contrast between the innocence of childhood and the maturit


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Catcher in the Rye. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:25, October 24, 2014, from
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