Growing up and dealing with the stresses of entering the adult world could be the hardest past of one’s life, especially without the right guidance. In The Catcher in the Rye, author J. D. Salinger shows how Holden struggles during this time. On top of his brother Allie’s death, Holden’s inability to fit in causes him to unravel throughout the book as the novel progresses. As Holden narrates his point of view, we could truly understand why Holden’s mental state worsens. Throughout the novel, Holden has moments that lead to his inevitable breakdown because of his different struggles with Phoebe, and his inability to get along with others.
In The Catcher of the Rye, Holden barely mentions his late brother, barely opening up to others and confronting his emotions. When Allie died to Leukemia at a young age, his emotions of grief are illustrated with how he reacts to Allie’s death with Holden saying, “I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist just for the hell of it” (Sallinger, 44). With Allie’s death, Holden shows signs of grief with much aggression as he destroys his windows with his fists at 13 years old after Allie’s death. Allie’s death results in Holden forming mental illnesses of depression from loneliness as displayed when Holden sat by himself smoking cigarettes when he says how he starts talking outloud when feeling depressed.
As a result, when Allie dies, Holden is locked in a deep state of long-term depression. When Holden finishes talking to the old lady at the school, she wishes him good luck. Just after she says this, Holden explains, “God, how I hate it when somebody yells ‘Good luck!’ at me when I’m leaving somewhere. It’s depressing.”
Holden did not know how to deal with his death and expressed it through wanting to harm himself. He did this to escape the pain he was feeling inside. Holden said that Allie was the most amazing, kindest, and happiest person. Because Allie died so young, Holden felt that his innocence was taken away from him. This was the “trigger” to many of Holden's actions.
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.
Through the traumatic life event that was the death of Allie, he was frozen in time psychologically, as the immature creature he is seen as now. The aforementioned habit of calling others phony is quite immature and childish, similar to how a child would call someone names when angered. “Traumatic life events can cause the child to become ‘stuck’ at a particular level of psychological development... s/he may, therefore, often seem immature.” (Hosier, 1) Allie’s death is something in Holden’s life that he has been unable to come to terms with, as he was never given closure.
People do not expect the death of a loved one to occur at such a young age, and so abruptly like Allie 's death. The smashing of the windows shows the huge impact that he had on Holden, and how upset he was that he no longer had his brother by his side. Holden was uncertain in how to deal with this upsetting change in his life, resulted in aggressive behavior. Holden was also exposed to another traumatic event in his life during his time at Pencey. After being introduced to one of Holden 's classmates Castle he states, ¨Finally, what he did, instead of
He talks quite a bit about sex, but his virginity is the last existing innocence to him. Holden pays for a prostitute to have sex with, but he cannot go through with it. He is very hesitant about losing his innocence. Holden wants to be “the catcher in the rye” (191) and save all the innocence in the world. He believes that that is what he wants to do in the future as he tells his little sister, Phoebe.
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 novel “The Catcher in the Rye” was about the journey of a adolescent boy finding his way to adulthood. In the book Holden Caulfield was unsuccessful in finding his way to adulthood. Holden’s attitude in the novel throughout his journey was very immature. He also can't accept the fact that innocence can’t be forever protected. Lastly, Holden calls everyone a phony when in reality he is the real phony.
Holden becomes increasingly attracted to the idea and comes close to obsession, as his mind is flooded with thoughts of death and disappearance, as well as questions which are revealed throughout the novel. Holden experiences two deaths prior to the events in the novel that impact him profoundly. The most significant death was the death of his younger brother, Allie. Allie died of leukemia three years before the events of the novel.
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. The death of Holden 's younger brother Allie has caused him to confuse his perception of reality and to alienate himself.
Many people harbour a desire to accomplish something specific in life. Sometimes this desire stems from the background of a person, and sometimes desires are developed over time and with age. “The Catcher in the Rye” narrated by Holden Caulfield, who is an overly disturbed teenager, is about the change from childhood to adulthood. Holden, like many, has a burning desire to protect the innocence of children; this desire is tied to the themes of relationships, intimacy and sexuality which are carried throughout the novel. In a stroke of genius, the author, J.D. Salinger, sums up this desire in the title, which is taken from a poem by Robert Burns: Comin ' thro ' the Rye ( 1796).