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Holden Caulfield Conflict

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Nandan Shastry In the novel, Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the main character Holden Caulfield struggles with many internal and external conflicts that change his attitude on life and how he approaches and confronts various situations. Throughout the novel Holden is always labeling people and situations that he disagrees with as phony instead of respecting that someone may have different opinion than him and it might be right. At the conclusion of the novel Holden is faced with the questions of whether he will apply himself when he goes to school that coming fall. He replies that he wants to but will never know until that time has come. If he truly would like to apply himself and be successful in the next nine months he must get involved…show more content…
Holden has an innate fight or flight instinct that kicks in whenever he is confronted with conflict. He must realize that in order to succeed in the world he has to learn how to keep quiet at comments that he doesn't like or doesn't agree with. The greatest internal conflict Holden faces throughout the book is his inability to deal with his brother Allie’s death. Holden tries hard to move past Allie but fails time and time again due to the fact that he believes he is alone in the world. In chapter 7, Holden is so lonely that decides to reach out to Ackley who lives in the room next to his and paints himself as a social outcast, “Then I went over and laid down on Ely's bed. Boy, did I feel rotten. I felt so damn lonesome”(26 Salinger). This quote clearly shows Holden's loneliness and what lengths he is willing to take to achieve some recognition of being. This is also portrayed during Holden’s encounter with Sunny, the prostitute. Holden does not know what to do so he orders a prostitute to his room but then finds out his mistake once she starts to make a move on him He asks if they can just talk instead of doing what she came for. This should be an immediate red flag to the reader about how lonely Holden is. He seeks the help of a prostitute because he wanted to talk and the only reason she listened was…show more content…
He childishly defies authority at every corner as if it will somehow help keep him young and innocent. Holden’s real concern about his life is the fact that people mature and grow. He feels frustrated because he cannot control the fact that he is getting onler. Also he believes that if he does not get older, Allie, his dead younger brother, will seem more alive. Holden is the type of person that mourns continuously no matter the time that has passed between this person’s death and the present time. However one must draw a line between mourning and stubbornly denying the fact that this person is gone. Holden does not know how to let go of his past and Allie as we see when is at the Museum and he says ”The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move. You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the birds would still be on their way south, the deers would still be drinking out of that water hole […]. Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you. Not that you'd be so much older or anything. It wouldn't be that exactly. You'd just be different, that's all. You'd have an overcoat on this time”(65 Salinger). He also needs to grow up and see that the whole world including him is phony and everyone in this world has learned to deal with it. He states in
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