Adolescent Psyche and Expressionism in ‘The Catcher in The Rye’ and ‘The Bell Jar’


  • Ananya Roy Postgraduate Student, Department of English University of Delhi, Chhatra Marg, Art(s) Faculty University Enclave, Delhi, 110007, India



Adolescence, Expressionism, Psyche, Holden Caulfield, Esther Greenwood.


J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951) and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar (1963), both serve as masterpiece accounts of teen angst and intricate detailed workings of the mind post world war when society was growing on one side with new foliage of technological innovation aimed at improving the lifestyle of human beings, on the other was on a slowyet painful process of moral, individual and spiritual decay as men and women had given way to the evils of the surplus and easy way of living. Not only were relationships coming under the radar of suspicion with humans doubting and betraying each other, a major issue of serious concern was on the rise as well that being the changing dynamics of adolescent brain and mind. Prone to modernization, the functioning of the mind of teenagers was undergoing a tremendous change where overt sensitivity was on rise. This paper focuses upon the main themes of (I) ideals cherished by both the protagonists, their view on them as individuals of the society, (II) on sexuality and (III) the serious issue of suicide which had been sought out as the best means of escape as their surroundings fail to bend according to their visions. This paper makes special efforts at analysing the same by bringing into it the status of relationship of the protagonist with his or her family member, peers, teachers and counsellors and how exactly it helps in expressing who they are and what they want.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Lawrence, Erica. (1999). Salvation and Rebirth in The Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar. The Oswald Review: An International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Criticism in the Discipline of English: Vol. 1: Issue. 1, Article 10.

Horwitz, A. V. (2010). How an age of anxiety became an age of depression. The Milbank quarterly, 88(1), 112–138.

Bonds, S Diane. (1990). The Separative Self in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Women's

Studies, Vol. 18, No. 1, May, 1990, pp.

Sasani, Samira., &Javidnejat, Parvaneh. (2015) A Discourse of the Alienated Youth in the American Culture: Holden Caulfield in J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Asian Social Science; Vol. 11, No. 15, 2015, pp.204-210.

Castronovo, David. (2001) Holden Caulfield's Legacy. New England Review (1990-), Vol. 22, No. 2 (Spring, 2001), pp. 180-186.

Held, George. (1966). The Ideals of Holden Caulfield. The Clearing House, Vol. 40, No. 5, Jan., 1966, pp. 295-297.

Hadjistavropoulos, Thomas., &Craig, Kenneth D. (2004). Pain: Psychological Perspectives. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. New Jersey.

Vega, Orestes J. The Causes and Effects of Depression on Esther Greenwood in the Bell Jar. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Salinger, J. D. (2010). The Catcher in the Rye. Penguin. India.

Plath, Sylvia. (2019). The Bell Jar. Robin Books. India.

Beauvoir, Simone de. (2011). The Second Sex. Vintage Books. London.

Laing, R.D. (2010). The Divided Self. Penguin Books. London.

Flynn, Thomas. (2006). Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. Great Britain.

Butler, Christopher. (2002). Post-Modernism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. Barcelona.

Blackburn, Simon. (2006). Truth: A Guide for the Perplexed. Penguin Books. London.

Burns, Robert. (1782). Comin’ Thro the Rye.




How to Cite

Roy, A. . (2020). Adolescent Psyche and Expressionism in ‘The Catcher in The Rye’ and ‘The Bell Jar’. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH , 8(10), 27-47.