– foreshadowing -The use of forshadowing in a novel can help it’s reader get a sense of whatis to come in the story without giving away the events themselves. It is apowerful tool which prevents events from being left unexplained, leaving thereader question the effectivness of an outcome. The eventual breakdown of thecharacter Holden Caufield in J.D. Salinger’s controversial 1945 novel “TheCatcher in the Rye” was foreshadowed in the early chapters of the book.The first clue is his negative approach to life.
He begins by talking abouthis “lousy childhood” (p.1) and the first traces of profanity can be seen scatteredabout the page in the form of “crap”, “hell” and “goddam”. Holden’s first sign ofdistrust comes when he speaks to Ward Stradlater about his date with JaneGallagher: “Listen. Give my regards, willya?” “Okay,” Stradlater said, but I knew he probably wouldn’t…
“Ask her if she still keeps all her kings in the back row.” “Okay,” Stradlater said, but I knew he wouldn’t. (p.33-34)This is seen again when he doesn’t trust Stradlater to stop his advances of Jane inthe case that she says no. Holden gives up his faith in people to trust him whenhe boards a bus holding a snowball.
The driver refuses to believe that Holdenwon’t throw the snowball so he draws the conclusion that “People never believeyou.” (p.37). He is also always placing labels upon people as being “phonies”which gives the reader the idea that Holden thinks that others are materialistic.Holdens attempts to protect the innocence in the world is another earlysign of his deteriorating state. When Holden goes to Pheobe’s school to deliverhis note he sees some swearing of the wall which he says “drove me damn nearcrazy” (p.201).
He wipes the words from the wall in an attempt to prevent theinevitable from occuring, leading the reader to believe that he may experiencesome mental unstability in the future. Eventually he comes to the realization thathe can’t rub all the profanity away himself. Another example of Holden’s attemptto shelter innocence is the fact that he never does call Jane, possibly for fear thatshe will scar his memories of her as an innocent child. The title of this novelpresents this theme to the reader in that Holden wants to be “the catcher in therye” (p. ) so he can catch all of the children that sway to close to the edge of acliff in thier play.
Perhaps the most obvious example of foreshadowing in the novel occurswhen his parents come close to having him “phsycoanalyzed and all” (p.39) whenhe breaks all the windows in the garage. Throughout the novel he refers tohimself as “a madman” (p.79) which gives the reader the idea that he sees himselfas having a sort of mental problem. These two peices of evidence alone presenta fairly firm idea of what will happen to Holden towards the end of the story.The use of foreshadowing is evident in the novel “The Catcher in the Rye”.
It does it’s job well in that it foretells the outcome of Holdens many problems andgives reason for it. The eventual breakdown of Holden is not startling to thereader because of the authors use of foreshadowing and therefore it is effective.