“I’d rather push a guy out a window”: Trauma, Abject Bodies, and the Unhomely in The Catcher in the Rye

Danielle Glassmeyer (Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, USA)


This article examines connections between embodied manifestations of trauma and the ability to bear witness to what Judith Butler has called the “abject.” The “abject” are those bodies that fail to adhere to heteronormativizing cultural scripts. Building upon Butler’s provocative delineation between “bodies that matter” and bodies that are matter, this analysis turns to J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, arguing that it is Holden’s status as a trauma survivor that has pushed him into an ‘unhomely’ position from which he is able to expose the violence with which those who reject the power imperative are pushed to the edges of cultural viability.

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