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Sam McGuire's Monomyth Project

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FC: The Monomyth of... | The Catcher In the Rye | Novel by: J.D. Salinger Monomyth by: Sam McGuire

1: The Cycle of a Monomyth

3: The Call to Adventure | The call to adventure for Holden Caulfield, the book's main protagonist, is when he is kicked out of his Pennsylvanian boarding school, Pencey Prep. This expulsion, one in a string of many from other private academes, give Holden a couple of days leave between the time of his expulsion, and the time his parents receive notice and come to pick him up. He decides that he will avoid telling his parents of the expulsion. He toys with the idea of spending his free time in his hometown of New York City. He doesn't see any real harm coming from it, repeatedly saying "I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. [] If somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say that I'm going to the opera."(Salinger 16) This idea is egged on by the fact that Holden's roommate, Stradlater, happens to be taking a girl out on a date that night. The girl's name is Jane Gallagher, and she and Holden dated when they were younger. This infuriates Holden, and encourages his leaving.

4: Crossing the Threshold | The crossing of the threshold occurs when Holden makes the decision to make an early exit from Pencey to go spend his few days of freedom in New York. He leaves after he and his roommate, Stradlater, get in a fist fight over whether he and Holden's old girlfriend had intercourse on their date. Holden, the infuriated loser of the fight decides to pack his bags and take off while Stradlater is asleep. As he is leaving, Holden takes extra care to remove his hound's tooth jacket from Stradlater's possession, as he had borrowed it for his date. "It was too late to call for a cab or anything, so [he] had to walk the whole way to the station. It wasn't to far, but it was cold as hell."(Salinger 53). On his way to NYC, Holden ends up seated next to one of his classmate's mother on the train. Holden proceeds to make up positive things to tell her about her "bastard" of a son, who happens to be in his grade. They share a pack of cigarettes and the two eventually part ways. This helps to signify that Holden has left his life at school behind, in exchange for a wild life of lies.

6: Supernatural Aid | Throughout the story, Holden's supernatural aid are his memories. They are the memories of his deceased brother Allie. Allie was Holden's younger brother who died of leukemia three years before the story. Allie played baseball, and on his glove he would write poems in green ink. Holden seemingly blames himself for Allie's death and is constantly tormented by it, leading to Holden's academic lethargy. Holden admired his brother greatly though and bases his decisions on what "would make Allie smile."(Salinger 42).

8: Road of Trials | The "Road of Trials" begin the first night Holden spends in New York. After finding a cheap hotel, he finds one of the abundant taxi cabs in the city and goes out to a club called "Ernie's" in Greenwich Village. He enjoys the music for a while, until he concludes that Ernie, the owner and performer, perfectly fits the archetype of the people he despises. "He had a big damn mirror on [his] piano and a spotlight on himself. You couldn't see his fingers when he played - just his big old face"(Salinger 84). After leaving Holden returns to the hotel. While in the elevator he is approached by a man named Maurice, who offers him a prostitute for five dollars. Sullen and depressed, he accepts and a woman named Sunny approaches his room. She tells him it will be ten dollars and the two begin to bicker. She eventually calls Maurice to the room to continue the dispute. Maurice assaults Holden and takes the ten dollars anyway, leaving Holden bruised and short on cash. The next day Holden calls on of his former girlfriends named Sally Hayes. They go to a play where he internally criticizes the stiff acting. Sally suggests going ice skating at Radio City as they exit the theater. They both skate terribly and decide to get a table on the side. Holden confesses his dislike of most people and irrationally asks Sally to run away with him. When she refuses Holden is offended and insults her. She quickly leaves the table, becoming one of many girls to reject Holden throughout the book.

11: Meeting With the Goddess | Holden's goddess is his younger sister Phoebe. He constantly looks for ways to see or contact her. She advises him when he sneaks into her room one night. She says to "Run! Get out of here!"(Salinger 168). She is blissfully unaware to her parents, but is truly seen by Holden as a witty genius. She serves as his voice of reason in the adventure. However, the true reason she is the goddess is that she is the one person Holden can truly trust. He can relate to her and never has to be provoked into telling the truth. He is always open with her and she with him. However, she is furious with him for being expelled. He leaves the apartment to go visit a former teacher.

12: Holden refuses to return after his bad experience with Mr. Antollini. He sends Phoebe a note saying to meet him in front of the Museum of Art at lunch time to return his borrowed money. The note tells of his plans to run away, so Phoebe shows up with a fully packed suit case. She begs to go with him to which he angrily responds:"No. Shut up."(Salinger 206) not really meaning to sound so mean, but worried he might pass out. | Refusal of the Return

13: Apotheosis | The apotheosis occurs during Holden and Phoebe apology trip to the zoo. While on their excursion Holden buys Phoebe a ticket to ride the carousel. After she rides it once she apologizes for being mad at him. He asks if she would like to ride again. Phoebe admits that she would, but only if Holden promised not to run away and to come home. He promises and she begins to ride again, but only after returning his treasured red hunting hat. He watched even though it had started to rain. Holden kept thinking to himself :"I felt so damn happy all of a sudden. I don't know why.[] God, I wish you could have been there."

14: Holden finishes the story after the carousel story, and flashes back to the present. He says that he went home and things have started to get better. However, he heeds warning that when you let yourself remember the past, you may start to miss it. Even those things you despised the most. | Master of Both Worlds

17: Works Cited Man at Subway Station. n.d. Satanic New York Real Estate. Guest of a Guest. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. . Myth Cycle. n.d. DLackley's Lesson Plans 2007-2008. DLackley.org. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. . Gavel. n.d. January 27. On Being A Black Lawyer. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. . Female Silhouette. n.d. Cause It's the Start of Something New. Elmni kuin teini merenneito. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. . uncledave. Night Train. 2010. uncledave. Deviantart.com. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. . Martin Neuhof. Broken Window Theory. 2010. martin-neuhof.com. Flickr.com. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. . Vector Graphic. Blooming In the Rain. 2008. Vector Graphic. dryicons.com. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. . Arguing Silhouette. n.d. Good Men Where the Unicorns Are, In Fairyland. qrazy.info.com. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. . Terry Grealy. Carousel In the Rain. 2009. Terry Grealy. flickr.com. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. . Father Daughter. n.d. A Woman's Guide to Everything: Fathers and Daughters. chezgigi.com. Web. Nov 15. 2011. . Salinger, J.D.. The Catcher In The Rye. Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown and Company, July 1951. Print.

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Samuel McGuire
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  • Title: Sam McGuire's Monomyth Project
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  • Published: about 8 years ago