Catcher In The Rye Chapter 1 Analysis

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The Catcher in the Rye Chapter one sets up the novel in a rest home that Holden Caulfield has been sent to for therapy. Holden starts to recount the story of his breakdown, first taking place at Pencey Prep. Holden is an extremely apathetic student, having failed four out of five courses in his previous semester at Pencey, unable to return after Christmas break. Holden attempts to say goodbye to the school despite his hatred towards it, so he resolves to visit his former history teacher, Mr. Spencer. In the following chapter, a scene ensues where Mr. Spencer says, “‘Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.’ ‘Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it.’ Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the…show more content…
Ackley, one of Holden’s dorm neighbors, barges into Holden’s room and asks him why he’s wearing this “deer shooting hat”, to which Holden replies, “‘This is a people shooting hat,’ I said. ‘I shoot people in this hat’”. Here the reader sees Holden’s extreme desire for individuality, a task he believes he’s achieving by wearing this odd hat. Furthermore, we can see the connection between Holden’s desire for uniqueness and feelings of alienation in this quote. Holden doesn’t mean that he will literally shoot people in his hat, but “shoot” them in his own way by judging them and rejecting to be apart of the so-called “hot-shot” or “phony” team. In the next chapter, Holden’s roommate Stradlater enters the room and Ackley leaves. Stradlater tells Holden he has a date with Jane Gallagher, a girl Holden knows from a summer vacation in Maine where he developed strong feelings for her. Holden becomes extremely leery as the night goes on since Stradlater is one of the more sexually experienced boys at Pencey, tormented by thoughts of Stradlater and Jane on their date. This is the first occurrence the reader sees of the pressure of teenage sexuality plaguing Holden’s
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