The Silent Generation: The Catcher in the Rye

Analysis of American Silent Coevals

From Holden, the Hero inThe Catcher in theRye

I. Introduction

The Catcher in the Ryeis the lone full-length novel by J.D. Salinger. Through the experiences of the hero, Holden Caulfield, the writer described a image of the complex religious universe of the adolescents after WWII. These adolescents used their particular ways to demo their dissatisfaction about the existent universe. When the book has come out, there were many positions on it, and Holden besides became a controversial figure.

Person thought he was a hero, but others considered him as a rebellious kid. He seemed to stay in his proper sphere, but he did hold a ungratified bosom. He was dissatisfied with the existent society, existent school and some people around him, but he ne’er showed his opposition, merely utilize the “A Q spirit” to soothe himself. Law-abiding visual aspect, lacking of enterprising, down bosom — -all of these characteristics proved that Holden is a typical representative of the Silent Generation.

Silent Generation is a particular group of people, which sprung up after the World War II. About 50 million Americans were born to the Silent Generation in America from the beginning of 1925 through 1942. Before them were the alleged G.I. Generation and after them the Boom Generation, so the X, and now the Millennial.The ideas and thoughts of this group had by and large changed. They were used to bask the comfy life and indifferent to the society and the universe. They were non willing to demo their imaginativeness and their creative activities, but in their bosom they still had the ideas in progress and alteration.

Get quality help now
Sweet V

Proficient in: Book Summary

4.9 (984)

“ Ok, let me say I’m extremely satisfy with the result while it was a last minute thing. I really enjoy the effort put in. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

They were pantie of words and non had the desire to be a leader. All these behaviours and characteristics were shown on Holden. This paper will turn out that prove that Holden is the typical representative of the Silent Generation of Americai??with the analysis of the common land between Holden and the Silent Generation of American.

II. Aboutthe Catcher In theRye

The Catcher in the Ryewritten by the American author Salinger has a great influence in literature of American even the universe. It was regarded as a authoritative. When the novel came out, it instantly became a hit. The experiences and ideas of the hero, Holden aroused the great common in the adolescence. It became truly popular among the reader, particularly in the senior and college pupils.

The hero, Holden was born in a affluent, middle-class household in New York. Every twenty-four hours he was free and hung here and at that place. The instructors in the school and his parents forced him to analyze hard in order to hold a great hereafter ( to purchase a Cadillac ) . But Holden disagreed with the people’s behaviour around him. He thought all of them were rather hypocritical. So he didn’t pay his attending to his survey. Because of that, he was ever punished by his instructors and school. After the Forth expelled by the school, he dared non travel place because he was afraid of being scolded by his parents. So he went to the most bustling topographic point of America — -New York City. There he spent one twenty-four hours and two darks. His life here seemed to be excessive and dissipated ; meanwhile, he was really down in his bosom. He wanted to get away from the hypocritical grownup universe to happen the artlessness the universe doomed. He told his sister:

“I maintain visualizing all these small childs playing some game in this large field of large, I mean — -except me. And I’m standing on the border of some brainsick drop. What I’m have to make, I have to catch everybody if they start to travel over the drop — -I mean, if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re traveling I have to come out from someplace and catch them. That’s all I’d do all twenty-four hours. I’d merely be the backstop in the rye and all. I know it is brainsick, but that’s the Lone thing I’d truly like to be.”

The author Jerome David Salinger was besides born in a affluent household in New York. Because of his particular household background, his life perusal and life in the military school and his life during the war, Salinger had particular inspiration and creative activities in his work. After his retirement from the ground forces in 1946, he finished this full-length novel, which caused a esthesis in the universe.

III. The Silent Coevals

For America and Americans, the 1950s was one of the most particular ages. Experienced series unrest events, including the World War II, the thoughts and ideas in American society had great alterations. The adolescents, who were born and grew up in this clip, were merely like the people who were vibrating on the border of the drop, perplexing on their manner in the hereafter. There were ideals and aspirations in their bosom of the Black Marias. However, populating in the meantime of history, they didn’t acquire the chance to demo their passion and enthusiasm. They struggled with conflicted ethical motives, thoughts, and desires. So they learnt to conform ; they learnt to state YES. But there was still a sense of depression in their bosom. They wanted Rebel. Faced with the existent universe, they chose to maintain silent to the society, and didn’t care the current events at all. They, in a nutshell, were a particular coevals in American history — – the Silent Generation.

  1. The Cause of the Silent Generation

The United States after the World War II was in a period of profusion and prosperity, with the economic system lifting at a rapid velocity. The material life was significantly improved, excessively. The new theoretical account of the economic system pushed the formation of a big in-between category. The comfy and expansive life style made the young person change their attending to the joy of the modern society. They started to dance, to party, to live together, even to imbibe and take drugs. Money progressively became the focal point of their lives. The ideal and the chase were worn down by the utilitarianism. In the stuff society, they merely wanted to bask the comfy life. But the world made them worried about their hereafter. With these facts, they chose to lock their ain Black Marias. Faced with the mutable universe, they ever kept remain apathetic and wait-and-see attitude.

The World War II had awful psychological emphasis among the American young person. The hideous scene of the war, Nazi’s cruel aggression to other states and the atomic bombardment in Hiroshima and Nagasaki which caused 100s of 1000s decease in Japan, all of those impacted the traditional values and thoughts in Americans. Without a new belief and religion of the young person, they were in an unstable psychological phase. In add-on to this, the Cold War, the foreign policy and the war of aggression against Korea were besides the grounds which caused progressively heavy horror of the war.

On the political forepart, the monopoly capital played a more and more of import function in many Fieldss, including economic system, the policy even Americans day-to-day life. Under this state of affairs, the young person saw no visible radiation in their hereafter and felt hopeless. On the top of this, the authorities implemented the McCarthyism domestically, which made the whole state in a closed province.

Under the heavy force per unit area of the economic system, society and political relations, immense alterations came out in the youth’s positions of life and value. All the alterations led a great impact between the traditional and the new thoughts in the youth’s Black Marias, and the ambivalency that they didn’t satisfy with the existent society and the state but they had to obey all of the regulations. This besides led the progressively locked Black Marias, the deficiency of imaginativeness and creative activity and the indifference to the political. All of these were the chief grounds for the formation of the Silent Generation.

  1. The Common Features of the Silent Generation

As a particular group in American, the Silent Generation had its ain particular characteristic. Populating in an unrest age, their words, behaviours and ideas were wholly different from those in other times.

  1. The Thoughts of the Silent Generation

The most outstanding characteristic of the Silent Generation, as their name, is soundless. Wordless and incommunicative seemed to be their common evidences. Among this group, no 1 wanted to show themselves, even that they didn’t want to state what they thought and what they felt in their Black Marias. They were non interested in the things such as demoing their faces in public and demoing off at all. They hated to do pretentious show of ability. Even they had a sense of hatred to aggressiveness and imaginativeness. What they worshipped was the individual who was smooth and slick and able to delight everyone — -this individual was ever called the societal butterfly. This sort of people ne’er to be outstanding among people and was ne’er inordinately enthusiastic. They seemed really modest. The most obvious characteristic in their idea of the Silent Generation was that they denied the traditional advocators of individuality. They thought that individuality was to gain themselves at the sweep of others, and the behaviour would endanger corporate involvements. On the macroscopic position, they were against individuality. But when they faced with the existent jobs, and to cover with them, they were ever so single.

The young person, who had a comfy and rich life, thought that all the great finds of human existences had been done and all the dreams had come true — -they didn’t need to take part in the World War II and to be a war hero because they were born excessively late ; nor in the Vietnam War and to be a activist because they were born excessively early. It seemed that all they could make at that period was to bask the comfy life. The most of import thing they paid the most attending to is the economic security and the benefits and privilege in life.

2. The Behaviors of the Silent Generation

This period was clip that the economic system in American was turning up at a surprising velocity. So the inner-silent young persons abandoned themselves into life of pleasance. But their behaviours were full of the rebellious colourss. They followed the societal watercourse to populate a life of orgy. They had forgotten the inhuman treatment of the war. As Louis Simpson’s verse formThe Silent Generation( this was the beginning of the name of this coevals ) : “…but today our calling had been vanishing. Our instruction was wasted in hanging in the street. We had energy for nil. And our life became more and more mysterious… ” , people and the society after the World War II became progressively effete. Under this juncture, all sorts bad wonts came one after another.

Some of the young persons started to take drugs in order to convey themselves the alleged pleasance. They thought that drugs could convey them a new manner of thought and could do them to woolgather them a bright hereafter. Second, the young persons populating in this period ever had a sense of depression in this underside of their bosom. They thought they needed drugs to let go of their feeling. What’s more, the drugs could garner different people in different civilization and they could run into more friends. In their positions, basking drugs was basking their stuff wealth. For the drunken teens, possibly intoxicant was besides a manner to let go of them. With sexual release, more and more young persons chose to populate together with their male child or girl friends. Party, dance, drugs, intoxicant and cohabitation seemed to be the chief facets of the society. For all of these behaviours, even if they had the thought to defy, they could non change by reversal the way of this community-driven.

While some members did go vocal militants, many were besides quiet, hardworking people who focused on acquiring things done and progressing their callings, even as they struggled with what to make with their lives. These people were by and large encouraged to conform to societal norms, and many did so.

3. The Attitude of the Silent Generation towards the Society

The basic attitude to the American society of the Silent Generation that period was to follow the bulk and have no creative activity and imaginativeness by themselves. This attitude was obvious in every facet: from their political attitude, personal religion, the rules to do friends, to their words and behaviours, the apparels they chose, even the length of their hair. They liked to follow the societal use. The comfy life made them demo their indifference to the universe. They believed that the political events had nil to make with them and they did non hold to care them. They did non hold the desire to be a leader at that clip because they thought seting themselves in to complicated policy was stupid. No coevals has so little a repute as does the Silent. No coevals since the American Civil War has been so misunderstood and underestimated.

The Silent Generation didn’t produce any president of the United States. However, witnessing such excessive and uneconomical life every twenty-four hours, the young persons had a great impact in their Black Marias. This made a prefiguration for the hereafter America. Over the following few decennaries, some of the major leaders of the chief runs of the United States were from the Silent Generation, for illustration, Martin Luther King, and Neil Armstrong.

IV. Contemplation of Silent Generation in Holden

Holden was the hero in Salinger’s novelthe Catcher in theRye. With the description of Holden’s experience in the New York City during one twenty-four hours and two darks, the writer showed us a life of orgy and the depression in his bosom by Holden’s words, behaviours, his apparels and so on. All of these evidenced that Holden was the typical representative of the Silent Generation. Meanwhile, from Holden, we can see that although this group did non care about the alteration of the universe, in their bosom there was still ideals and aspirations.

  1. Holden’s Wordss

The most pronounced trait of Holden’s words is conversational every bit good as boyish. This theoretical account of linguistic communication non merely succeeded in depicting the American societal status and the provinces of head of the young person after the World War II, but besides accurately and vividly recorded the linguistic communication wonts of the young person at that period. Based on this, the writer added some bad linguistic communication and rude words, which was called “Holden’s language” subsequently.

“The linguistic communication ofthe Catcher in theRyeis, as we have seen, an reliable artistic sundering of a type of informal, conversational, adolescent American spoken address. It is strongly typical and banal, yet frequently slightly single ; it is rough and slangy and imprecise, imitative yet on occasion inventive, and affected toward standardisation by the strong attempts of school, ” the American literary critic Donald P. Costello said.

Holden’s linguistic communication showed the universe of phantasy by himself every bit good as his rebellion, which gave us a image about the universe in teenager’s eyes which was wholly different from that in grownups. Meanwhile, the words of Holden besides had the characteristic same as the Silent Generation.

  1. Holden’s “Phony” about Mendacity

It is easy for used to happen that the often used word of Holden is “phony” . “Phony” is a slang, which means unreal, pretended and non echt. From this often used word “phony” , it can non be hard to happen out that Holden kept observing icky motivations in the people. In his position, the 1 who wins awards through pretenses, the 1 who treats others otherwise harmonizing to their different societal or economic position and the 1 who offers something in order to acquire wagess are all bogus 1s. This was his remark to the mendacity. This word could be applied to everyplace. The school was hypocrite ; the schoolmaster was bogus ; the instructors were bogus ; the roomies were bogus ; his brother was bogus. The smiling he gave others was bogus ; the handshaking he took was bogus ; the missive person wrote was bogus. In his eyes, this was a bogus universe. But this did be the existent universe. Faced with the mutable society, he could non understand. He wanted to distribute himself from others. He merely used hypocrite to demo his loathe about the mendacity every bit good as his weakness to the universe. In his bosom, he merely wanted to continue his guiltless childhood. But he had to confront with the truth that he would step in to the hypocrite maturity subsequently. He was merely in a quandary.

From Holden, we besides can acquire the image of the adolescents in American of that period — -the Silent Generation. Just like Holden, they lived in a bogus universe, excessively. They saw the universe full of deceases and hurts because of wars ; they saw the people who got wealth by every agency ; they saw the society full of the people who were trailing the power and money ; they saw the apathetic feeling from individual to individual. What was crueler for them was that they had to follow themselves to the milieus. They could non every bit good as were willing non to show their thoughts. Gradually they began to indulge to the comfy life and learnt to maintain silent to the universe. Holden was merely a member of them. But we had to state that compared with other adolescence, Holden could be treated as a hero among them. Although he merely used the word “phony” to demo the unsatisfactory to the mendacity, he had the bravery to acquire some alterations and do remark.

  1. Holden’s Colloquial and Boyish Repetitions

Through the whole novel, it was about full of spoken linguistic communication and slangs. This form of linguistic communication has non merely the typical and original character, but had some its ain personality. The writer added some coarse linguistic communication and informal words, which made Holden’s linguistic communication creative.

In the novel, Holden truly liked to utilize expletive like “damn, hell” and others. And he ever described the things he disliked in overdone and insistent ways in order to contempt and cynicism about the things. Coarse linguistic communication were about in everyplace of this novels and could non advert one by one. Even Holden mentioned his favourite things he still used the corporate and bad words. For illustration, when he mentioned the ruddy hunting hat he truly liked, he used “goddamn runing cap” . This coarse conversational address had two significance. On the one manus, it showed that populating in such a society, Holden slid into bad societal wonts ; on the other manus, it showed that under such an environment, he felt down. He used the disgusting linguistic communication to show his unsatisfactory to the community in order to dispatch repressed emotion.

Holden’s words were about informal conversational address. For illustration, Holden liked to utilize “old” to name person else. For case, he called his sister “Old Phoebe” . But in American, naming person old was non polite. Holden’s bad grammar construction besides showed his informal address. He changed the verse form “ if a organic structure meet a organic structure coming through the rye” into “if a organic structure catch a organic structure through the rye” , but this error was used into the name of this novel.

In Holden’s address, the boylike repeat was besides a type of colloquialism. Holden liked to utilize “and all” , “or nothing” , “and so on” and other stick oning linguistic communication to demo his feelings. This look showed that Holden did non desire to speak more with the bogus people and the bogus society. For the decadent society that he hated, Holden chose the apathetic attitude. Society showed its pandemonium and falsity to people. And Holden used his uncertainness and unclarity to return this community. This was his ain manner to show his idea and feelings. We can clearly see that the Silent Generation used the soundless words against this society. They did non care anything seemingly, but in their Black Marias, they were shouting! Besides, Holden liked to utilize “really” and “no kidding” to demo that what he said was confident, which ironic this undependable society and the hypocritical people. As representative of the Silent Generation, Holden voiced their choler and repulsion to the hypocritical universe.

  1. Holden’s Behaviors
  1. Holden’s Cynicism
  2. Holden’s Escapism from Reality
  3. Holden’s Quixotism
  1. Holden’s Appearance

V. Conclusion

Cite this page

The Silent Generation: The Catcher in the Rye. (2017, Aug 22). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7