Interpellating the Misfit:AnAlthusserian Reading of The Catcher in the Rye

Yazdanjoo M., Mozaheb M. A., Rahimi A.

IUP Journal of English Studies, vol.17, no.2, pp.112-125, 2022 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Journal Name: IUP Journal of English Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.112-125
  • Süleyman Demirel University Affiliated: No


©2022 IUP. All Rights Reserved.This paper endeavors to identify the role of ideology in domesticating the unruly protagonist of J D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield. Althusser’s educational and familial apparatus, which are the hallmarks of his ideological state apparatus, play an undeniable role in guiding Holden to the right path of life and, therefore, applying himself. As the best representative of educational apparatus, Antolini, a Christ-like figure, provides tutelage for Holden in the absence of his Broadway-investing father. Holden, through idealizing Phoebe and Allie, also reveals an acute sense of belonging which characterizes him as a sibling-fixated protagonist. However, Holden behaves in such a way that it leads him to be stigmatized as a ‘madman’ and is eventually consigned to an asylum, another example of Althusser’s RSA (i.e., Repressive State Apparatus). Overall, we propose that Holden Caulfield, being subjected to the Subject, is ‘the caught in the rye’ not ‘the catcher in the rye’.