Holden Caulfield Character Analysis Essay

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Within the novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’ by J. D. Salinger, the character of Holden Caulfield, has been presented as a complex character. His life begins in turmoil, due to the death of his little brother. Holden despises the loss of innocence among children, which is shown through his vivid thoughts of catching children, preventing them from falling into adulthood. He later struggles academically and socially, he fails school and struggles to socialise. He experiences physical and emotional collapse later in the novel when he feels like he’s disappearing from society. However, he has a moment of epiphany later in the novel where he realises that children need to be allowed to live their own lives. It is clear that his character has certainly…show more content…
The use of metaphor ‘you felt you were disappearing every time you crossed a road’ reflects his feelings of isolation and inability to connect with people. It could also show how he feels insignificant since he is unable to meet his family and class expectations by consistently failing in school. Holden comes from a middle class American family in the 1950s where parents often worked exceptionally hard to earn money for the family in order to send children to high school and good colleges. The lack of care and comfort from his parents could be a reason why Holden fails to fit in with society as he has not been exposed to a warm and loving family life during childhood. His feelings of loneliness and isolation are transformed into cynicism as he is extremely judgmental towards everything and the world around him. This could be linked to the fact that he is unable to fit in and so he decides to act superior and be negative towards those around him to make himself feel better. The reader would think that Holden feels like he’s disappearing because he has no one to share his thoughts and feelings with or feel that the lack of family support contributes to his mental instability. Perhaps, Salinger presented Holden in such a way to highlight the importance of family support or suggest how significant its effects are. This is shown at the beginning of the novel to reflect how his childhood was traumatised in the past and highlights the significance of childhood in later
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