Session Title

Literature

Presenter Information

Beth WarnkenFollow

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor

Leslie Bickford, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of English

Description

J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye has a difficult structure to pin down. This paper argues that this is because Holden exists outside of society’s superstructure, and although he has familial ties to the bourgeoisie, he longs to be a part of the proletariat. He makes this novel in an attempt to participate in Louis Althusser’s concept of production theory, and to establish an alternate hegemony. Holden’s rejection of prep schools, phoniness, and all the things that are representative of the bourgeoisie solidify his longing to become a member of the proletariat, and his symbolic swapping of suitcases highlights his desire to detach from his possessions. Although society’s control is ultimately too strong for Holden to overcome in the end, it is an enlightening novel on the reality of the intense struggle between the dominant hegemony and those attempting to revolutionize an alternative one.

Course Assignment

ENGL 300 – Bickford

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Apr 24th, 12:00 AM

Switching Suitcases: Holden's Novel for the Proletariat

J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye has a difficult structure to pin down. This paper argues that this is because Holden exists outside of society’s superstructure, and although he has familial ties to the bourgeoisie, he longs to be a part of the proletariat. He makes this novel in an attempt to participate in Louis Althusser’s concept of production theory, and to establish an alternate hegemony. Holden’s rejection of prep schools, phoniness, and all the things that are representative of the bourgeoisie solidify his longing to become a member of the proletariat, and his symbolic swapping of suitcases highlights his desire to detach from his possessions. Although society’s control is ultimately too strong for Holden to overcome in the end, it is an enlightening novel on the reality of the intense struggle between the dominant hegemony and those attempting to revolutionize an alternative one.

 

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