Death In Catcher In The Rye Essay

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Death is a determining factor that turns the main character, Holden Caulfield’s, life upside down. Death is also a recurring theme in the “Catcher in the rye.”

You’d think that Holden, a seventeen-year-old boy, would be more interested in sex and friends than death. Holden’s brother Allie died of leukemia a few years back and Holden also witnessed a young boy named James Castle committing suicide at the prep school.
Allie’s death was one of the most fundamental changes that happened in Holden’s life so far. At points in the story, Holden can’t stop thinking about death. This leads him to think about Allie’s death. “In Chapter 20, Holden, at his most depressed moment, is walking at night in Central Park. His hair is wet and he feels ice particales
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As for Allie, a pointless and unforeseeable illness took him out of Holden’s world too soon. In Holden’s eyes, Allie was the only person in the world that wasn’t a phony. Holden doesn’t want to grow up to become a phony. If he dies young, he will have died without becoming a phony and this is very important to him.
“I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cementery, and I have a tombstone and all, it’ll say ‘Holden Caulfield’ on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it’ll say ‘F*** you’. I’m positive in fact” (204)
The above passage shows Holden's attitude on life and the fact that he is always disappointed with most everyone and everything. He thinks life is full of phonies, he doesn't trust anyone, and at every turn he is failing. Death seems like a pretty good option for good people, apparently. Fortunately, Holden winds up in a hospital in California and hopefully get the help that he needs to let go of childhood and enter the adult world with a more positive attitude on
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