To start, the death of Holden’s younger brother, Allie, has impacted Holden’s life to a certain extent. He passed away when he was eleven years old and when Holden was thirteen years old from Leukemia. Holden has not been the same ever since the death and can be shown by, “I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don’t blame them. I really don’t.
One of the symbols J.D. Salinger uses quite frequently in the book is Allie’s baseball mitt. In the beginning of the novel, it’s a normal baseball glove with poems on it, which we found out was owned by Holden’s brother who had died. But when you reach the end of the book, you realize that Allie’s mitt, along with the memory of him, shaped Holden to be the person he was in the novel.
As the book starts Holden describes his childhood and how he has been kicked out of several school and once more again from his currently school, giving a sense of irresponsibility and no care in the world. Holden later on mentioned slowly the loss of his brother due to leukemia and how he reacted outrageously by breaking the windows of his garage home. As a reader one would view that behavior as abnormal, but Peter Shaw descried it as a normal behavior for a fictional character in the 1950s and by mentioning that Holden, “is presenting in a somewhat different manner than are the sentimentalized young people in other novels if his period” (par. 3), admitting that Holden was somewhat of an outcast of a character even for its time he is still considered normal. Shaw also challenged the reader’s view of Holden by emphasizing that Holden is not a real person, but a fiction character developed in the 1950s and in fact a mad psychological character is normal and made the reading rather more interesting and acceptable during that time. As readers someone may come across as understanding Holden’s behavior due to a loss and everyone mourns differently and as Shaw said, “ the one period of life in which abnormal behavior is common rather than exceptional” (par.
The snowball represents Holden's childhood memories and how the white color of the ice symbolizes the clarity and rightneousness of Holden's previous life. The reason Holden does not the throw the snowball is because he wants to retain and prolong his childhood memories. 2.) Holden's younger brother, Allie, had written poems onto his baseball mitt to keep himself occupied on the baseball field. Holden cares for and treasures Allie's mitt after, "He got Leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July
Holden has the choice to either act like an adult or play like a child when he comes across a problem. But not surprisingly, he can’t choose which path to follow, so he stays stuck in the middle. This middle grey area of transitioning from childhood to adulthood for Holden is what is causing his problems and what is making his choices and decisions a lot harder. Holden 's past experiences have taken a toll on him and are starting to cause present issues for him. Holden was only thirteen when his younger brother passed away and it hit him hard.
Holden Caulfield, the main protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, embodies the classic teenager in the process of discovering himself, and how the world works. But, regardless of Holden 's rich, prep school lifestyle, the series of events that have mapped out his life up to this point have utterly affected his emotional well being and perception of the world. Many traumatic events such as the death of holds brother Allie, the death of a class mate, and countless numbers of awkward incidents with adults have all added up to affects Holden 's well-being and detach him from reality.
Throughout the book, Holden is struggling to get by. The death of his brother Allie has left him in a tough spot. Holden doesn’t exactly know how to deal with this. The different stages of grief are represented through Holden. Holden shows denial and anger when he flashbacks to one of his memories after his brother’s death.
The only motivator that Holden has to continue living is his younger sister, Phoebe, who is extraordinarily intelligent for her age. After he gets kicked out of Pencey, Holden is lost in life. He speaks to many people, seeking advice and comfort, but they are not able to help him find a human connection. Holden’s depression increases throughout the novel, almost to the point of suicide. He criticizes many people and ideas, labeling them as ‘phony’.
Similarly, “Comin Thro’ the Rye” is also one of the most obvious symbols in the book because it suggests that Holden is the savior of innocence in the book. Holden hears a little boy humming to the tune of the poem and it makes him feel “better…not so depressed anymore” (Salinger 129). This quote is appropriate in the symbolism of innocence because it talks about incorporating a loss of innocence even though Holden wants to be the protector of innocence for children. The meaning of the actual poem has no effect on the moral of the story, it is the way that Holden mistakes the lyrics of the “song” (Salinger 191). Instead of the actual catcher “[meeting] a body” in the “poem,” Holden thinks that “[catching] a body” in a “song” (Salinger 191), is the correct version.
When we were younger, all we ever wanted was to be a ‘big kid’. We wanted to be able to do things by ourselves and have independence and freedom from our parents. In J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, protagonist Holden Caulfield finally had this ‘freedom’. But was it what he wanted? He was expected to act like an adult though he was still considered a child. Inside, Holden was struggling with the conflict of reluctance to become and adult because he thought it meant leaving behind his brother. He was pushing aside the fact that people change, and that change was not always a bad thing.
The beginning of Holden’s journey starts with the innocence and naivety of childhood. Childhood is the stage that ignorance is bliss with no care in the world. Holden goes to a prestigious boarding school for boys and he believes that everyone in that school is a phony in some way. Holden is an observant character as he stays in the background, but he can also cause the most trouble. Like a child, he asks many questions and he is very curious to the point that he can be annoying.
There are three main things that display Holden’s loss of innocence: his excessive drinking and smoking, leaving for three days and not contacting anyone, and Sunny the prostitute. When Holden is drinking and smoking, it shows how much h doesn’t care about his own health and how he’s more mature than others his age. When he doesn’t contact anyone it shows how he believes he can take care of himself and is an adult, much like when he interacts with Sunny. Holden helps many of the children who he meets keep their innocence because he has lost his. In An Analysis of the Adolescent Problems in The Catcher in the Rye, Lingdi Chen says that Holden sees the protection of children’s innocence as a primary virtue and that he enjoys being with Jane Gallagher and Phoebe because they are innocent and youthful.
He sees himself as the useless member of the family, and states that he’s “the only dumb one in the family” (67). The most heartbreaking cause of Holden’s loneliness is the death of his young brother, Allie, to leukemia. The brothers’ connection is shown through the symbol of Allie’s red hair, which Holden could have a “hunch” for even if Allie was sitting “a hundred and fifty yards” away (38). The cut of a bond this deep devastates Holden. Unfortunately, because of his inactive parents, he deals with it through anger and isolation that is symbolized by the red hunting hat he wears.
Holden is now lost in his own fantasy world not wanting to grow up from his childhood life, due to the tragedy of Allies death. Freud’s theory would examine the depth of the unconscious state and its primary root source attached to incomprehensible pain by noting, “the preconscious state holds information we’ve stored from past experience... This information can be retrieved from memory and brought into awareness at any time” (Freud 469). Because Holden never stops thinking of his brother he is trapped in his own world and can’t find an escape to his mood disorder of depression and his emotion of tribulant grief. However, Holden acknowledges that he is lost, “they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all…I don’t blame them” (Salinger 38).