In Monday’s seminar class, we began to speak about Catcher in the Rye. When I first read this in High School, it immediately became one of my favorite books. In class, we spoke about archetypes, which are basically stock characters. Everyone knows these basic characters that are in almost every show: the dumb blonde, the bully, and the righteous hero. After being exposed to these characters for what seems like endlessly, they start to lose their appeal to us. There’s only so many times a dumb blonde type in a TV show will make us really laugh before we get sick of the same type of humor. However, Salinger challenged these stereotypical characters by presenting us with Holden.
Holden is an anti archetype. He is definitely not the normal perfect hero. A hero would usually be on a quest throughout the novel to be a better person and to do good deeds. However, Holden does not start out doing good deeds; he hires a prostitute and punches a kid in the face. He is his own type of character, not a type that has been repeated for centuries. When he speaks to his sister, he says that his dream was to be the “catcher in the rye,” saving kids from being corrupted. He is sort’ve a neo-tragic hero, with a personality far different from the stock characters we are all so used to.