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Aristotle's Methodology and Literature

The main character in the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger represents a response to society as the novelist uses that character, Holden Caulfield, to comment on the falseness of the accepted and elevated segment of the society in which he lives. Holden Caulfield sees his social milieu as false and tarnished and runs away from it. As a result, he is alienated from society. The story of Holden Caulfield is told by Holden Caulfield, and the reader experiences everything through Holden's consciousness. The novel has a unity of form and purpose that makes it possible to analyze it in terms of the Aristotelian unities that prevailed in dramatic criticism through most of the history of Western drama. The precepts underlying this criticism were stated by Aristotle, primarily in his Poetics, and then were used as prescriptions by later writers. Aristotle found that the drama gained power from having a certain unity of time, place, character, and action, and while it is certainly not true that a work should be judged only on these issues, some writers--such as J.D. Salinger--have made use of these unities to help in the shaping of certain of their fiction. The story of Holden Caulfield shows some of these characteristics and uses them in an effective manner.

Aristotle approaches different subject matter with a similar methodology while also varying his method to the degree necessary to cope with the different subject matter. His basic method, however, is codification and analysis. He examines the structure of the issues involved and analyzes the answers that can be derived to the basic questions in each subject. Aristotle often approaches a subject in disagreement with the prevailing notions of Plato's Academy and thus argues against the existing system of belief, while in other cases he examines the structure of a subject and uses this as a springboard to make determinations of meaning and prescription. Aristotle's Poe...

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Aristotle's Methodology and Literature. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:54, December 06, 2021, from