Educational System as a Discourse of Power: Reading Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye in Terms of Adorno’s Theory of ‘Halbbildung’

Document Type: Original Article


Department of English Literature,Faculty of Literature and Foreign Languages,Islamic azad University, Karaj, Alborz, Iran


Discourse has been one of the most challenging interdisciplinary terms during the past few decades which connects variety of fields of study such as politics, philosophy, sociology, linguistics, and literature. One of the approaches which is born out of mutual interaction between Linguistics and socio-political debates is critical discourse analysis (CDA), which studies the relation between language and power. Among the influential figures of this approach, one may refer to Antonio Gramci, Paulo Freire, and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. Theodore Adorno as one of the key members of this school challenges the basic assumptions of educational system in his writings particularly his essay “Theory of Halbbildung,” by which he meant “Half-education.” In his viewpoint, education is deemed as very forceful, one of the manifestations of power relation, which speaks in its own language to its audience or learners. The present paper is an attempt to analyze the failure of educational system to foster autonomous individuals in Salinger's Catcher in the Rye in the light of Adorno's theory of half-education.