In order the to fully understand the "catcher in the rye" the analysis of all surrounding aspects of the main character's life must be taken into consideration. Holden Caulfield is at the complex age of sixteen, and refuses to follow his inevitable course of maturity being one of the underlying conflicts expressed in the novel. As a result of this denial and refusal to except the "Phoniness" and false moral values in the society he lives Holden is ostracized and alienated. The historical and social contexts must be examined closely in order better understand the novel and actions of Holden Caulfield. Also the different settings in which Salinger has placed Holden and various writing techniques he has used, must also be analyzed as they contribute to the over all effectiveness of the story. Therefore a thorough understanding of the novel can only be reached as a result of a close analysis of the social, historical and other contexts, his age and the various settings and writing techniques throughout the novel.
In order to fully understand the novel the historical aspects must be taken into close consideration. "The Catcher in the Rye" is set in America in the 1950's a decade of common teenage rebellion that was evident in many aspects such as clothing music and attitudes towards authority. Holden Caulfield in being isolated and ostracized as a result of his refusal to accept the moral standards and the selfish mentality's of the people he interacts with , can be more thoroughly understood by the reader when the historical time period and its social values in society in which Holden lives is analyzed. Therefore the historical context of "the catcher in the rye" has a significant relevance in understanding the novel. America in the 1950's was a country of great military power, a society of high conservatism driven by consumerism. America represented materialism and its people believed that America was the greatest country in the world.