1. Teenage Delinquency
J.D Salinger is the author of 'The Catcher in the Rye', who depicts the cultural assumption of Teenage delinquency throughout his novel. Teenage delinquency is the assumption that all teenagers are becoming rebellious, violent and up to no good. It is these few delinquents that put a bad image on the whole group of teenagers because of the things they have done wrong. J.D Salinger shows throughout this novel that teenagers have their own certain standards and rules for their social class. These examples are shown using two techniques, Language and Characterisation.
The language used in this novel is by the main character, Holden Caulfield. Holden is a 17 year old teenage boy who uses a lot of inappropriate language for his society. This includes his continuous use of the words phony, goddam, sonuvabitch and crumby bastard. Examples from the novel are when Holden is arguing with his roommate Stradlater, he says "You're a dirty stupid sonuvabitch moron". Another example is when he is in his sister Phoebe's room and is continually using the word Goddam. Although today they seem quite mild, at that time they would have been quite shocking. She tells him to stop swearing, "Don't swear so much" , "stop swearing". This tells us this is inappropriate language of the society and if Holden continues becoming a bit aggressive he could create an image of a teenage delinquent for himself.
We also use Holden Caulfield in the next technique of teenage delinquency which is characterisation. In this novel it is shown that teenagers of the society have standards and ways that they fit in with their own social class. A common trend of teenagers is how they always need to be in the eye of society, this is even if it involves someone they don't know. They have an idea of 'being seen' which includes going on dates and going to the movies etc. Throughout the novel Holden meets various new people such as Mrs Morrow, the Taxi driver, the three girls in the lobby and Sunny. All these people whom Holden has never met before however just wants to be in their company. An example from the novel is when Holden's roommate Stradlater says that he is going out with Jane Gallagher, a childhood friend of Holden's. Stradlater doesn't even know Jane and pronounces her name as Jean. This is when Holden becomes annoyed as he says in the book, "You don't even know if her first name is Jane or Jean". J.D Salinger challenges this cultural assumption by saying that teenagers shouldn't just go out to be seen in public with a stranger. They should be able to do it with some they know and can have a good time with.
These two examples of the cultural assumption link back to 1950's context by displaying their way of society and trends that teenagers chose to display in order be part of their social class.