An Analysis of The Catcher in the Rye the Perspective of the rites of the initiation毕业论文

 2021-04-07 10:04

摘 要




Introduction 2

2. Demonstration 2

2.1 Phase one——the rite of separation 2

2.1.1 The gap between the culture and the personality 4

2.1.2 Lost in commitment 5

2.2 Phase two——the rite of transition 5

2.2.1 The chiefs of the tribes and tutor——sister’s and brother’s beauty 6

2.2.2 Torture and test——deep-rooted bad habits and temptation 6

2.3Phase three——the rite of being sophisticated 7

2.3.1 Re-united——equilibrium point 8

2.3.2 New-born——cognition 9

3. Conclusion 10

Notes 11

Works cited 12

Bibliography 14

An Analysis of The Catcher in the Rye from the Perspective of the Rite of the Initiation

1. Introduction

The title of my paper consists of three elements. They are the novel The Catcher in the Rye, Bildungsroman and the rite of the initiation.

The Catcher in the Rye is written by J. D. Salinger. It was published in 1951. This novel was designed for adults’ readers but became popular with teenagers because of its themes of adolescent anxiety. The protagonist Holden told his story in first person. The novel told that Holden was fired from the school because of flunking four subjects and not applying himself well. He went to the NYC to escape from the adults’ phony world and found the childlike innocence and the truth. At the end of the novel, he came back and realized the task he should cope with.

This novel tells protagonist’s maturation process. It follows the traditional human development course from being naïve to being mature. This book should be regarded as the Bildungsroman. According to Meyer Howard Abrams, “The subject of these novels is the development of the protagonist’s mind and character”4 (Abrams 193).

To some extent, Holden’s maturation is an example of the primitive rite of initiation. Anthropologically speaking,

The first phase (of separation) comprises symbolic behavior signifying the detachment of the individual or group either from earlier fixed point in the social structure, from a set of cultural conditions (a “state”), or from both. During the intervening [transitional] period, the characteristics of the ritual subject (the "passenger") are ambiguous; he passes through a cultural realm that has few or none of the attributes of the past or coming state. In the third phase (reaggregation or reincorporation), the passage is consummated. (Turner 94) .

As stated above, the primitive rite of initiation can be summarized into three phases: the rite of separation, the rite of transition, and the rite of sophistication.

The Bildungsroman The Catcher in the Rye exactly echoes the three phases of rites of the initiation. In other words, Holden’s growing years follows the rites of the initiation. However, there is a subtle difference in dealing with the protagonist’s sophistication. “The self draws to itself and harmonizes all the archetypes and their manifestations in complexes and consciousness. It unites the personality, giving it a sense of "oneness" and firmness.” 1(Hall 51-52).

In the primitive rite of initiation, the minors grow up and take on responsibility submissively. However, Holden’s ending did not seem natural. Instead, he found an equilibrium point to support himself; the equilibrium is Holden’s fantasy world of the catcher in the rye, and that is Holden’s self archetype. “If a person says he feels in harmony with himself and with the world, we can be sure that the self archetype is performing its work effectively” (Hall 52).

In this paper, firstly, some information of three elements will be given. Secondly, I intend to apply the three phases to the analysis of the Catcher in the Rye. Lastly, the conclusion will tell the distinctiveness of the Holden’s rite of initiation.


This part will be divided into three phases to describe Holden’s rite of initiation. Each phase will be elaborated through two aspects: the rite of separation and the gap between culture and personality.

2.1. Phase one——the rite of separation

“The first phase (of separation) comprises symbolic behavior signifying the detachment of the individual or group either from earlier fixed point in the social structure, from a set of cultural conditions (a “state”), or from both” (Turner 94).

The most obvious difference between the child and the adult is the independence. First one is physical separation. Sometimes people must show their full independence under pressure and force. Holden was going to undergo the rite of separation under the pressure and force.

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