The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Cold War: 1950s Society and the Question of Responsibility 12th Grade

According to Joseph Cummins, a researcher on teenage rebellion in the 50’s and 60’s, in 1946, 3.4 million babies were born in the U.S, which is more than ever before. This was followed by 3.8 million in 1947. After 1954 4 million babies were born every year until 1964 when the baby boom tapered off. These children came of age in the 50’s and 60’s and immediately began to rebel. (Cummins) As parents were faced with a new, more dangerous form of teen rebellion to match the historically tense times. While all the attention was turned to up keeping new societal norms and pushing communists out of 50’s America, teens like Holden were allowed to simply slip through the cracks and watch as their own mental states deteriorated without the proper treatment. Although people say the book The Catcher in the Rye is not a social commentary on the ills of the 1950's Salinger provides a first-hand account on the societal norms, historical tensions, and psychological states at the time, proving that responsibility fosters hypocrisy.

This time period is infamous for its invisible war against communism as well as the unsettling need to live a cookie cutter life style following the economic boom. Parents found a safe place in the suburbs being...

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