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Who Needs ‘Holden Caulfield’? From Reception to Legitimation

Mislav Živković orcid id ; Sveučilište u Zagrebu

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 584 Kb

str. 163-172

preuzimanja: 309



Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, as one of the most influential and culturally relevant novels of the 20th century, has often been put behind the myth of its protagonist, who is frequently considered to be a universal symbol of the American post-war teenage era. The goal of this paper is to examine how “Holden Caulfield” was formed in regards to dominant cultural values of its matrix context, but also to dismantle this very myth because, as will be shown, its process of constitution has often excluded important factors such as the post-war identity politics or how the novel itself relates to the literary conventions of modernity, all in favor of a biased approach on the grounds of traditional moral or essentialist concepts of youth. The novel’s reception will thus be particularly emphasized in order to analyze the relationship between the Catcher and the myth of the Catcher, and to note potential discrepancies between them, which might offer a broader picture than the one painted in and through the cultural perception of Holden. Finally, the ambivalent position of the modern subject will be outlined in regard to one’s institutional and linguistic determination, which draws attention to the blurred borders between the two major cultural paradigms of the 20th century and underlines the symbolic power of the literary medium and its relation to the complexity of (post)modern cultural dynamics, as well as discursive mechanisms that take part in its establishment.

Ključne riječi

The Catcher in the Rye; modernity; cultural studies; reception; identity politics

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