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Holden Caulfield's Language


            Literary Criticism On Holden Caulfield's Language.
             Every person's, words contribute to form a unique and individual identity. Adolph Hitler used his evil words and hypnotizing language to rally millions of people to follow his ideas. Shakespeare's brilliant playwrights and poems portrayed him as loving and intelligent. Many authors in literature, such as J.D. Salinger, have focused on having their characters use a distinct language to make them unique. One of his characters, Holden Caulfield, has a very pessimistic diction which made him special. In the bildungsroman Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden's trouble and insecure personality is modeled by his unique speech and diction in that he has an idiosyncratic speech pattern, uses certain grammar, crude language, and has an adaptable vocabulary.
             Holden Caulfield's idiosyncratic speech pattern portrays his looseness and his self-consciousness in his personality. His incessant use of the phrases "and all," "or something," and "or anything," usually shows his laziness to further explain the issue he is explaining to the reader. On the other hand, Holden uses these short phrases at random constantly, and the reason for this, according to Donald Barr, is that "his fallacy is ab uno disce omnes; he abstracts and generalizes wildly" (Costello 84). Throughout the novel, Holden also uses the phrases "it really is," "it really did," and "if you want to know the truth," to display his effort to show that he is not a phony. He continuously tries not to slide into phoniness by proving to the reader that he truly intends what he says. Holden also uses "if you want to know the truth" after personal confirmations. All of Holden's idiosyncrasies are a part of the typical teenage language, but his unceasing use of them makes him extraordinary, in that it shows the self-consciousness and laziness of his character.
             In addition to his idiosyncratic speech patterns, Holden's crude language forms his character by presenting his contrast to other teenagers and the changes he undergoes when other characters have an influence on him.


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