Etymology and Symbolism of Characters' Names in Catcher in the Rye Essays

:: 5 Works Cited
Length: 1975 words (5.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Etymology and Symbolism of Characters' Names in Catcher in the Rye

    Catcher in the Rye's pallid cover, adorned only with seven multicolored bands in its upper-left corner, is not what one would call eye-catching. Its reverse side lacks criticisms or reviews of any sort; in fact, it is bare of anything except a copyright date. Human beings are advised not to judge books by their covers, rather that they should look further than the obvious and try to apprehend the implied meaning. The world has peered past Catcher in the Rye's cover, cracked its pure, uniform shell of cardboard and discovered the novel of a decade, a story that has now made the name "Holden Caulfield" synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Within the novel, however, there are more "books" into which we can read a bit more deeply - the characters. It seems quite obvious that their personalities correspond with the root meanings of their names. Would brilliant author J.D. Salinger pick the name "Holden" for the protagonist without reason? Analysis uncovers connections between themes and mannerisms that are far too relevant to have been coincidental. Holden Caulfield, his younger sister Phoebe, and a cast of minor characters such as Ackley, James Castle, Carl Luce, Faith Cavendish, and Sally Hayes are several characters whose names display these connections.


As the novel opens, Holden Caulfield stands poised on a hill separating him from the rest of his school at the annual football game. He is both isolated from and above the level of his peers, watching the big game from a distance. His position is a metaphor for his views on life. The phoniness of life disgusts him, and he longs to live in a world free of the tainted hy...

... middle of paper ...

...oing so would show phony qualities Holden despises and limit the reader's understanding of what is available to them. In both reading and living, one must delve at times to see intended meaning. To achieve the greatest knowledge of The Catcher in the Rye, the reader must examine the many levels of meaning associated with the character's names.

Works Cited

Bloom, HB. Major Literary Characters: Holden Caulfield. Chelsea House Publishers. New York, 1990.

Costello, DP. The Language of the Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield. Cambridge, New York; Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Gwynn, F. The Fiction of JD Salinger. University of Pittsburg Press. 1958

Salinger, JD. The Catcher in the Rye, Little, Brown and Co. Boston, 1951.

Salzman, J. The American Novel: New Essays on the Catcher in the Rye. Cambridge University Press, 1991.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Essay about Words and Names: Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne - Words and names play a powerful role in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. In Volumes I, II, and IV, language and the effect words have on the story create an important theme, which connects the three books together. Digressions inside these books build on each other. This allows Sterne to draw the reader’s attention to the problems words create, as well as the importance of original phrasing. Names and word choice, as well as the power they possess, fill these Volumes, through Tristram’s baptism and Mr....   [tags: language, significance of names]
:: 1 Works Cited
1492 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Analyzing Irish Names Essay - ... O'Brien's got Name Luck of the Irish. You might find it interesting that the O'Brien coat of arms flaunts its royal-ness with the "king" lion in the crest. The motto is "The strong hand from above". Examine the coat of arms closely. At the top you will see a hand with a sword pointing skyward. Are you an O'Brien. If so, you're entitled to Irish attitude. Irish First Names (Given Names) Siobhan (sha VAHN) is a lovely given name for girls. It is the Irish deviation of Joan. Siobhan a.k.a. Joan means "God is gracious"....   [tags: Celtic components, Saints, folklore characters] 641 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Use of Symbolism in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Essay - In the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, once a year a person from town as to be sacrifice for a good harvest. Kids gather stones and put them in their pockets and they head towards the center of the town with the other villagers. As they gather around Mr. Summers brings a black box, in this box it is filled with many papers. Only one paper has a black dot. This dot will determine the family that would be chosen to be sacrifice. Wait I am not quite done, if a family is chosen they would have to draw again between each other to see who in the family would be stoned to death....   [tags: Symbolism, Symbols]
:: 5 Works Cited
1529 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Thy Shall Be Named in Shirley Jackson´s The Lottery Essay - ... Mr. Summers drew the heavily blackened death mark upon one slip of paper, and stood before the people as they awaited their names to be called. As he called their names off alphabetically, curiosity raised as the anticipation to know who the lucky lottery winner was came quicker as each name was called. Beginning the drawing, Summers says “well now […] guess we better get started, get this over with, so’s we can go back to work” (24). In other words, Mr. Summers was in now ways affected by the death that he was yet to cast....   [tags: symbolism, names, bible, stoned, life] 758 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Oliver Twist - Name Etymology Essay - Oliver Twist - Name Etymology Summary: Oliver Twist is a poor orphan boy cruelly treated in the public workhouse. Pennyless and hungry, he runs away to London, only to fall into the clutches of a gang of thieves and pickpockets led by the master criminal, Fagin. Befriended by a man robbed by the gang, Oliver ultimately learns his true identity and gains a new home, a fortune and a brand new family. Name Analogies: Oliver: Norman French form of a Germanic name, possibly the name Alfihar meaning "elf army"....   [tags: essays research papers] 736 words
(2.1 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Etymology and Loanwords in the English Language Essay - Introduction First of all I want to explain why I have chosen this topic to present. When I was learning English language at school I was always curious why this or that word was pronounced differently and somehow strange. My teacher was trying to do her best and explain but anyway I was always dissatisfied. Now as I am a student and I am learning English language thoroughly I have a great chance to discover for me many things and to give answers to those questions that were disturbing me so much....   [tags: word origins, lexicology]
:: 4 Works Cited
3023 words
(8.6 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Symnbolism in the Hound of the Baskerville by Arthur Conan Essay - Symbolism is when authors use items to signify certain ideas by giving them a meaning that is different from what it literally represents. Most authors use this literary device in their books, because it adds to the deepness of the book. Symbolism allows the author to give a deeper meaning to a concept. In the classic mystery, The Hound of the Baskerville by Arthur Conan Doyle, symbolism is utilized. The three items that Doyle applied symbolism to were the moor, the hound and Stapleton’s nets. The moor is portrayed as darkness and eeriness....   [tags: moor, hound, nets, symbolism]
:: 1 Works Cited
571 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Symbolism and Characters in Fahrenheit 451 Essay - Burning a Hole in Fahrenheit Final Draft Fahrenheit 451 has various main characters. These characters play the most important role in creating the feel of the story. Their appearance, actions, ideas, and relationships to other characters in the story give important insight to the world of Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury's craft of creating characters with much symbolism is one of the most important aspects of Fahrenheit 451. From Guy Montag to Captain Beatty, he implements careful design in each character, molding them into more than just symbols....   [tags: Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451] 1121 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Character Names in Joseph Heler's Catch-22 Essay - Character Names in Joseph Heler's Catch-22 Many characters in Joseph Heler’s Catch-22 do not have proper names. Like the Texan, the soldier in white, and the soldier who saw everything twice, Nately’s whore’s kid sister does not have a specific birth name. This namelesnes forces the reader to question her identity, her characteristics, and her role in the work in relation to other characters. As Nately’s whore’s kid sister, she is at least two degres of separation away from a real name, a true identity....   [tags: Joseph Heler Catch 22 Papers]
:: 1 Works Cited
2120 words
(6.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Lolita: The Etymology of a Nymphet Essay - Lolita: The Etymology of a Nymphet The novel Lolita concerns a relationship characterized by obsession by a middle aged man, Humbert, for a prepubescent girl, Lolita. This fictional relationship has been a source of many questions as to what the writer, Vladimir Nabokov, had in mind when he wrote the novel. Thus, the novel has been looked at from different aspects in attempting to come up with what it portrays. Humbert, in his flowery description of Lolita, uses the word "nymphet" to refer not only to her but also to other girls of her age and characteristics....   [tags: Essays Papers]
:: 7 Works Cited
2977 words
(8.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]