1. Teenage Delinquency
J.D Salinger depicts cultural assumptions of teenage delinquents throughout his novel 'The catcher in the Rye'. Teenage delinquency is the assumption that teenagers are juvenile and rebellious. In the 1950's teenagers never wanted to be alone. They always had to be with someone so they didn't appear to look like a loner or someone who had no friends.
The language in this novel is descriptive and depicts Holden Caulfield as a down trodden teenage delinquent. Holden is a rebel and the audience can assume he feels troubled and is frequently labeled as a teenage deliquent. The language Salinger uses for Caulfield is true and authentic, rendering of teenagers in the 1950's era. The direct speech quotes ensures the reader relates to Caulfield as a teenager, 'He was a goddam stupid moron.' Holden is described as using adjectives piled onto each other to make him sound big and tough. 'He started handling my exam paper like it was a turd or something'. Holden is described as using repetitive phrases like "goddam" to ooze his rebellious attitude.
In this novel J.D Salinger demonstrates characterisation through Holden Caulfield. He will ring people when he is out so they come out and be with him even though he might not even know the person. Holden is constantly craving the attention of other people. A quote in the novel "You don't even know if her first name is Jane or Jean, ya goddam moron!" Holden asked a girl to come out with him and he didn’t even know her name as he just wants to be with the presence of someone.
J.D Salinger challenges the idea of teenage delinquency as Caulfield was arguing with Stradtler about how he went out with a girl so society accepted him even though he didn’t know if her name was Jane or Jean. Holden was stating that you should get to know someone before you go and make a night with them otherwise it can just be awkward. You should be able to go out with someone you know not just use them for social acceptants.
In conclusion we can determine JD Salinger is challenging the idea of 1950's culture through his use of technique of characterisation and language.