The Catcher in the Rye

Historical Context


In th story The Catcher in the Rye, Historical Context played a big role in the novel. Holden, living through The Cold War, being the era of the post Depression, and living in the 50's means teenage delincincy, great amount of rebellion, and an overall different way of living.

How was the critical reception of the novel illistrative of the time period?

1). The critical reception of the novel was illustrative in this time period because of how people were meant to act. Everything was out of whack. It was an all about good time era, post Depression. Holden is a troubled kid and in the time of the War, he was expected to be like all the rest of the boys around him, and it’s a critical reception because he is clearly different from most boys his age in this time period, he was a heavy smoker as well. The society he is growing up in isn’t the best for a mind that is already troubled. The novel showed the carelessness In the time period. Kids did what hey wanted, parents didn’t have much to say. He books language reflect on how the mouths on kids were these days, the 50s was also when the greasers had begun to come around. Teenage delinquents. People were shallow and that shines through in the book. However, Holden is struggling more cause he’s all in all, a loner.

What Pressures Specific to the time periodinfluencd Holden? How were people supposed to act?

2). Specific influences that could have pressured Holden to act in a way he did in his time period are limitless. With the war a lot of things were going wrong and America wasn’t really in the best shape, and at the time it seemed like it could be okay but it later became a problem. Rock and roll began to become really popular in this time period as well. With Rock n Roll came booze and drugs. Children were free from censorship from their parents and they began to rebel. The economy was beginning to grow. People were beginning o conform to the leisure life, and having babies. Many people fell heavy into debt due to over-use of their credit cards. As for Holdens generation, sex was not something that was openly talked about, but openly done. This was also around the time that the birth control pill had begun to surface. Adolescents were pressured to be everything society was, even if it meant they had to conform and this could have been part of what has begun to change, he wants to fit in but pretends that he doesnt want to at the same time.

Explain the growth of the consumer culture in the post-war er. How is it reflected in the novel?

3). World War II gave Americans an era of technological growth, leisure, and opportunities for education and research. Out of this came four new factors pressuring people to spend more money to keep the consumer economy growing; such things as modern advertising, television, credit cards, and babies. However, this ultimately led them to an immense amount of debt.

What, if any, support would have helped Holden to become a well-adjusted teen?

4). Although Holden is not a very social and dependent person, I think that if Holden had more support from his parents and family he wouldn’t have been kicked out of so many schools, and would have been guided in the right direction. He needed someone to care about him and love him for him to be able to see the good in things, rather than falling back and forth into depressions and rebellious actions.

How do you think the Cold War influenced Holden's culture?

5). The first cold war appeared in Germany which drawled enemy between the Soviet and Western spheres. Stalin wanted to be a communist country while Western allies wanted to be Capitalist and a democratic. Britain, France, and the United State was backing up the Western spheres while Russia was backing up the Soviet Union. Tension developed faster in 1962 when found out how the Soviet Union was building missile sites in Cuba just only 75 miles from the shore of the United State. Than when President Kennedy called his troops to cut off the shore making sure we don’t get attacked. Men was coming home from the war but to nothing. Financial life had improved significantly for the average worker since the Great Depression of the 1930s, but inflation presented new problems. The political scene generally moved toward conservatism near the end of the 1940s and into the 1950s (the time period of the novel) but there were noteworthy exceptions. The atomic bomb, which many had considered a blessing when it quickly ended the war with Japan, was increasingly seen as a curse. Culturally, the United States was both conservative and liberal but leaning increasingly to the righty leading to Holden's culture.

How did the house Un-American Activities Commission influence every day life for american citizens?

6.) House Un-American Activities Committee was a group that was established in the United State House of Representatives in during the middle of the twenty-century. In 1938 it was frame to investigate the activities of the American vision as a threat to the way of life with the government operations. In 1969, the House changed the committee's name to "House Committee on Internal Security". The Un-American Activists Commission was looking for anyone who had a portion in the communist action and set the right making sure they wouldn’t be a communist anymore when the Government got done with them.

Identify at least 5 ways WWII inpacted American Culture. What happened as a result?

7). World War II drew America into a whirlwind of activity and new ideas. Art, music and intellectual ideas changed. Society, politics, and the economy and even people’s cultures changed and it was a permanent change. And unfortunately, these changes were at expense of many live. For example, July 4th fireworks displays had to be cancelled because at that time American fireworks manufactures made their employees be ordnance producers that made things like rockets, bombs and ammunition. An lights on tall building sometimes had to be turned off because of the fear of air raids.

Is Holden an early example of the "Counter-Culture Cycle"?

8). The Counter Culture Cycle was a “subculture whose values and norms of behavior differ from those of maintain society, often in opposition to mainstream cultural mores.” Holden is an example of this because during the 1950’s, when he was a teenager he operated and behave differently than most teenager of other time periods. He was more independent and could do just about anything he wanted.