Cultural Assumption 1: Teenage Delinquency in the 1950s
Teenage delinquency is acting against the social norms and values of society, in simpler terms it's anti-social behaviour. For example, Holden was a teenage delinquent in America 1950 as he was behaving against society orders.
The context of 1950's America, post World War II, was one where consumerism and conformity were valued. The author, J.D. Salinger, questioned this through his characterisation of Holden as a teenage delinquent. J.D. Salinger's repetition of 'phony' in Holden's dialogue tells us how he sees the world difference to others. Holden purposely isolates himself from others as he doesn't want to be out with student's from his school as they represent the society he is rebelling against. J.D. Salinger uses the visual motif of the red hunting hat to differentiate Holden from society. The idea of staying as a child and not growing up tells us that he his rejecting life as an adult in society and staying a teenage delinquent. I have found two quotes, stated below, that depict Holden as a teenage delinquent.
"Would you care for a cigarette?" I asked her.
She looked all around. "I don't believe this is a smoker, Rudolf," she said. Rudolf. That killed me. - Chapter 8.
"At the end of the first act we went out with all the other jerks for a cigarette. What a deal that was. You never saw so many phonies in all your life, everybody smoking their ears off and talking about the play so that everybody could hear how sharp they were." - Chapter 17
In today's society and culture Holden's actions would be seen as outrageous as society is more accepting. Holden wasn't accepted in 1950 culture as he made himself an outcast of society by not adhering to society norms. Holden did this by not going out on Saturday nights, not going to football matches and alienating everyone around him through his lack of social skills. Whilst teenage delinquency was and still is considered to be negative by giving Holden some redeeming qualities, such as his love for Pheobe, we see that not blindly adhering or conforming to society's expectations is not always a bad thing.