Female Characters In Catcher In The Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J.D. Salinger, first published in 1951. The story is set in 1949, and the events take place a few days before Christmas in the vast city of New York. Holden Caulfield is the main protagonist and the narrator. He is a teenager who does not want to acknowledge the fact that he is growing up. Not only does he has a complicated relationship with adults, but also the female characters. One of them is Sally Hayes who, despite her charm, Holden considers “the Queen of the phonies” (TRC, X). We also hear about Jane Gallagher, who Holden thinks highly of, however, finds difficulties to contact. It seems that Holden struggles to socialize with whomever he associates with, accept for one girl. How is Holden’s interaction…show more content…
She is a girl Holden “used to go around with” (TRC, X), and the reason why he is “around” (TRC, X) in New York. Holden describes her as “pretty” (TRC, X) and seems attracted to Sally. He even “felt like marrying her” (TRC, X), and suggest that they run away together. Holden invents this little fantasy of borrowing a car and living in a wood cabin. Sally is straight with him and says “You can’t just do something like that” (TRC, X). She is realistic and explains that they are both “practically children” (TRC, X). This reminder is bothering Holden, which leads him to make Sally cry because she was “depressing the hell out of me [Holden]” (TRC, X). This shows us how reasonable Sally is, even though she is at the same age as Holden. Sally has grown up, and that is why Holden does not like Sally and thinks she is “really stupid” (TRC,…show more content…
He believes that girls are fascinating, yet, objectifies them. To illustrate, when Holden meets a prostitute, he “kept hoping she’d be good-looking” (TRC, 101), still, “sort of just wanted to get it over with” (TRC, 101,102). However, Holden relates well with children, and it may be because they are innocent, and does not sexualize them. Holden sees a boy who sings “If a body catch a body coming through the rye” (TRC, X) and that makes Holden “feel better” and “not so depressed anymore” (TRC, 125). The song (mistaken) gives him direction. Holden believes he is still a child himself, and a protector, to save children from growing up. Holden’s little sister Phoebe Caulfield is an important element and is going to change things for him. Phoebe explains that Holden has misunderstood the song. Holden “know its crazy” (TRC, X), which symbolizes his own struggles. Phoebe makes him realize he has two solutions, to unbreak the change or commit suicide. If Holden grows up, he will become a “phony”, and only Peter Pan has succeeded to stay a child forever. “The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the golden ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything” (TRC,
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