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Holden Caulfield Grief Essay

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Arrested development works in more than one fashion for Holden Caulfield, as not only does he desperately cling to the past, but his five stages of grief are similarly slowly processed—namely denial. J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye follows Holden as he adapts to life alone in the city, and is forced to deal with the consequences of living in the real world. After projecting his issues onto others throughout the novel, only by accepting his own shortcomings does Holden finally start taking steps towards changing his life for the better. Holden’s little brother, Allie, passed away some years before the story takes place, and is one of the biggest factors in his refusal to let go of the past. For instance, even after so much time has passed, Holden names his dead sibling when asked by Phoebe if there’s anything in the world he cares about. Without memories of Allie, there is apparently nothing else to fit that claim. Allie’s old baseball mitt is still Holden’s most prized possession, and, due to its close personal nature compared to any other items on hand, he writes about it for an assignment even when it goes against the prompt. Therefore, taking note of the effects the death still deals presently, and considering Holden “broke all the windows” in the garage with his fists the day after the death occurred, it makes sense to conclude Allie’s loss has caused him to embrace a jaded view of life and humanity (Salinger, 39). Despite it all, Holden’s venture to the park with Phoebe seems to…show more content…
His nostalgic feelings for a better time, one where his fond memories of Allie and Jane stem from, led to his own fascination with kids and desire to protect them as a “catcher in the rye”: one who will watch them as they play and stop them from falling off the edge into, quite literally, a darker future (Salinger,
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