The Catcher in the Rye Allusions

When an author refers to other great events, people, and works, it isn’t accidental. This is a stylistic writing device referred to as an allusion. It is defined as the action of making references to something or using something to exemplify a thought.

As a bibliophile, Holden Caulfield from the novel The Catcher in the Rye is familiar with the literature. This is why he is depicted using constant allusions throughout the narrative. By so doing, the author ensures that the reader can easily reference fictional characters and historical figures. In this way, readers are better able to understand the point being made.

Seeing as how there’s some logic behind allusions, consider the following instances of the stylistic device used in The Catcher in the Rye.

Romeo and Juliet

At the Grand Central Station scene, Holden mentions Romeo and Juliet while conversing with nuns. He feels awkward talking about this story with nuns because of the strong sexual undertones in contains.

Since the character is clearly ill at ease talking matters sexual, this allusion is an apt representation of his deep insecurity. In the same way, it is used to show his despise for Romeo – which embodies his hate for fame characters from history.

Further, Holden mentions that he is driven crazy whenever someone gets killed.

Emily Dickinson

The character also remarks on Emily Dickinson on his way to the Wicker Bar. He talks about Allie’s belief in Emily as an astounding war poet. However, Holden and Emily had different views of the world.

That said, Holden and J.D. Salinger resemble Emily Dickinson in the sense that they are highly secretive and live a life removed from mass social interactions,

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