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On Stylistic Features of the Catcher in the RYE

Author ChenZuo
Tutor HuangJianRen
School Central South University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords J.D.Salinger The Catcher in the Rye Literary Stulistics Lexical Syntactic Figures of speech
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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J. D. Salinger was a remarkable writer in contemporary America. The Catcher in the Rye is his only novel, published in1951. This novel attracts much attention from the critics and readers worldwide. It becomes one of the representative works of American literature of the20th century. In this novel, Salinger depicts vividly an impressionable adolescent by telling the whole story in a teenager’s tone from a first-person point of view.Stylistics is a cross-discipline, which combines linguistics and literature together. Literary stylistics tends to focus on the analysis of text. Leech’s Style in Fiction provides us a method of analysis, and the categories are placed under four general headings:lexical, grammatical, figures of speech and context. Since the purpose of stylistic analysis is to highlight the stylistic effects which the text presents, we shall use different categories to find out how choice of words involves various types of meaning. Though, many literary reviews have contributed to the understanding of The Catcher in the Rye, yet most of them are concerned with its theme and the social value. Few scholars study the novel from the perspective of literary stylistics. Therefore, this thesis attempts to analyze the stylistic features of the novel’s language, disclosing how the protagonist’s language expresses meaning and thought.The thesis, divided into four chapters, attempts to study the stylistic features in The Catcher in the Rye, based on theories of Leech’s Style in Fiction.Chapter1is a brief introduction to stylistics as well as to Leech’s Style in Fiction, focusing on feasibility and significance of a research on stylistic features in terms of textual-analysis of the novel. Chapter2focuses on the analysis on lexical features in The Catcher in the Rye from three aspects:evaluative adjectives, verbs and the two speech habits of Holden, in which one is the use of slang, and the other is repetition of words. Chapter3is the kernel of the thesis; it mainly concerns about the syntactic features of the novel, centering in inversion, short sentences and complex sentences, and repetition of sentences. Chapter4centers on the rhetoric features in The Catcher in the Rye. It takes hyperbole, parallelism, metaphor and simile as examples to illustrate the internal relationships between the author and the protagonist.Via the language and text analysis based on stylistic theories, we can further explore vocabulary, selected structures and rhetorical features, etc. in Salinger’s work to reveal the positive role literary styles play in clarifying themes and highlighting the effect of expression. Meanwhile, this thesis also proves that stylistics provides a new perspective for interpreting literary works, with its strong practicability and maneuverability.

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