J.D Salinder’s “The Catcher in the Rye” was an achievement of relief. Around the 1950’s there were many factors that affected his writings. The nascent civil rights movement and the crusade against communism at home and abroad exposed the underlying divisions in American society was one of them . He was a fighter and a writer. From the wars start to the wars finish Salinder wrote constantly. As of June 6, 1944, there was a turning point in his life since 11 months of combat came.
The war experience gave him maturity in his writing. Before the war, he had 6 drafts that eventually came to be “The Catcher in the Rye”. Salinger wrote much that has not survived, he produced so much work that never appeared in print.short stories he had already written while in the army, such as “Soft-Boiled Sergeant” and “Last Day of the Last Furlough,” that showed disgust with the false idealism applied to combat. Salinder chose the process of constructing novels by making different short stories and somehow connecting these segments into one big story. Salinger brings out the aspects of the 1950 and holden is the character that represented them. He attacks various weaknesses in the 50’s society. He criticizes nearly everything that he observes.
Writing “The Catcher in the Rye” was sort of an act of liberation for Salinger since all the effects of the war are shown through Holden and are reflected in his loss of faith. He uses many techniques that lure in the readers of “The Catcher in the Rye”. He gets you into Holden’s reality and how his life was.
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, a what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and 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.” (J.D Salinger,1). The death of his brother Allie Caulfield was a moment in Holden’s life that affected a lot. The memory of Allie haunted Holden for many years.
Which if we consider all the fallen soldiers that were with Salinger in the war we could see how he portrays that memory through Allie. Salinger was part of the 4th Counter Intelligence Corps (C.I.C), a World War II intelligence agency that was stationed in England.
Among with having a career with the 4th C.I.C, he also took part in the Battle of Bulge, and later entered Kaufering, a camp of Dachau. His experience in the war left a deep impression on him, and traumatized him. After the war Salinder ends up in a Mental hospital and was treated for “combat fatigue”-psychological disturbance caused by prolonged exposure to active warfare, especially being under bombardment. Unlike many of the soldiers who were impatient for the invasion that was going to happen, Saldiner was far from inexperienced with all of the things happening during the war. He wrote about the fake idealism that was applied to combat and in his pieces of writing which were “Soft boiled Sergeant”, and “Last Day of the Last Furlough”.
He explained that the war was an inglorious affair. By this he meant that it was something to be ashamed of. Like mentioned before Salinder chose to construct “The Catcher in the Rye” in segments. One of the stories where Holden Caulfield makes his first appearance is in the “Slight Rebellion off Madison”. “How do I put this? Holden is the character that Salinder saw himself being.
Eventually Salinder put a series of nine stories together,and each one of them contained a piece of Holden and his family. For example one of the stories that spoke about when Holden goes over to Mr. Spencers house and talks about leaving Pencey Prep. The story was called “Im Crazy”. One of Salinder”s missions while in the military was to identify Nazi’s among the frenchmen.
Although he was only in France for a couple of days had the honor to meet Hemingway, who commented on his pieces of writing. He was very familiar with Salinder’s writing, and wanted to read more. Salinder was surprised at Hemingway since he thought he was going to be a tough person but in reality he was really gentle and very professional. In a pbs documentary, “The catcher in the Rye” is shown as a revolt against the 1950’s. In the light of social conformity in the 1950’s Elizabeth Frank called the discovering of Holden exhilarating , The catcher in the rye helps put a name into all those intuitions we had, that something was terribly wrong with civilization in America at that time. David Shields one of the persons interviewed sees WWII as a Convert meditation. Since J.
D. Salinder was half-jewish/ half-irish, the horrors of the wars really spoke powerfully to them. His wartime experiences brought him on a deep depression. That’s why he ended up going to a medical practitioners in Nuremberg for treatment. As time passed, the war changed Holden. Like mentioned before Holden appeared in a story called “Slight Rebellion off Madison”.In the Catcher in the rye there is a same scene but Holden provides an impression of nobility, his selfishness evaporated, and he seems to speak a larger truth. When we look into how the 1950s, affected the teenagers at the time we see that it was a time of teenage culture, was in a type of transition.
Most parents started to focus more on their children than before. I believe that it might be because of WWII since most of these teenagers fatherly figure were at war, and now finally coming back. These people wanted to go back to the life that they were always looking for. A normal life. Following the second world war, public schools had a higher percentage rate of attendance. There was a real concern since parents were really concerned with their teenagers growing up be to a successful person. They did not want their children to be delinquents.
Parents told their children that they should not hang out with people who smoke cirgarettes, dressed in jeans, wore leather jackets,and used expressions “Slang” to talk to each other. The movie Back to the Future with Michael J fox goes back to an idealized version of the 50’s. There were many issues, but it was a time of innocence. There was a taste in rock and roll, a rise on television Most television shows provided teenagers with alternative role models. For the most part this form of music (Rock and Roll) set the teenagers apart from their elders. Films such as “Rebel Without A Cause” and “The Wild One” really showed that the 50s was an era us misunderstood youth.