Catcher in the ryedoes voice matter



Does the Voice Matter?

How important is the voice that tells a story? It seems
almost trivial to claim that the same story can change
because of the voice telling it to you. Does the voice and
point of view of the narrator play a large enough role in a
novel to change the attitude of the reader about the novel?
J.D.. Salinger uses the dominant character of Holden
Caulfield to be the first person narrator of his novel The
Catcher in the Rye. The key to Holden’s narrative voice is
the fact that it added life and a connection to the
character. This voice transforms an otherwise lifeless story
to a jump start and electric novel. In order to find out how
important this narrator was to the story we will compare the
novel The Catcher in the Rye to the piece “A Slight
Rebellion of Madison”(the summary of the very same novel as
told in third person omniscient).

In looking at the importance of Holden’s role we will
first look at the summary of the novel. In “Slight Rebellion
off Madison” the character of Holden Caulfield has been
eliminated and an outside third person narrator replaces
him. This version goes through the story explaining the
basic outlining of The Catcher in the Rye. The outline is
what the summary gives to the reader and that’s all it
gives. The basic plot is average, but with out the
connection to the reader it keeps the reader on the outside
through the whole thing. The plot tells the happenings of a
young man named Holden Caulfield, but without really knowing
to much about the character of Holden the plot line is
lifeless and boring for the reader. We see the experiences
that Holden goes through, but the reader doesn’t get
involved. It is hard for most readers to sympathize with
Holden therefore Salinger relies on the connection Holden
makes with the reader to get the reader involved in the life
of Holden.

What about Holden’s narrative voice causes such a giant
impact on the novel? I s it his loud personality or just
that the reader is allowed to but put in the position as his
best friend. Salinger starts the novel right away with
Holden trying to relate to the reader. “If you really want
to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to
know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was
like, and how my parents were occupied all before they had
me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t
feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
Throughout the entire novel Holden uses slang and swear
words to give the reader a more familiar feeling to him.
Salinger makes it seem as though Holden is confiding
everything to the reader. this is the key to the novel and
why it is more than a simple story line.







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