A Comparative Althusserian Analysis of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Ahmad Mahmoud’s The Neighbors

Samaneh Asadi, Razieh Eslamieh


The present study presents a comparative Althusserian reading of two novels; one written in Iran as a Middle East country and the other written in the U.S as a Western country. Both novels, The Neighbors (1974) by J.D Salinger and The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by Ahmad Mahmud, are written during the Second World War and both focus on the growth, psychological development and unconscious subjugation of a young adult facing conflicts amid socio-political or socio-cultural challenges. Reading the novels under Althusserian notions of Ideological State Apparatuses, Internal Police and Unconscious Subjugation can help deciphering the root problems of internal and external conflicts of Kahaled and Holden, the protagonists of the novels. Functioning through Ideological State Apparatuses, state power acts covertly without exerting particular force by manipulating individuals’ unconscious and culture. Despite experiencing different socio-cultural events, ultimately both characters find peace of mind in the shelter of family and a female character. The journey of transition from innocence to experience ends for Holden by finding Phoebe, his sister, as the source of solace and for Khaled by finding a beloved, the Black-Eyed.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v11i4.15225

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