Holden Caulfield Insecurity

1072 Words5 Pages

In Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield, is challenged by the world around him. One of the main issues he faces is “ . . . constantly [feeling] as if he is being surrounded by his enemies. (Huber and Ledbetter 254)” Confined by insecurity, loneliness, and uncertainty, he continues on his spiritual quest for true happiness. These feelings overwhelm Caulfield as he judges all individuals he comes into contact with as phony. Caulfield is unaware of his negative opinions, which are self-serving. Bickmore and Youngblood state, “An honest hypocrite, Holden is the very essence . . . of adolescence. (253)” Moreover, Caulfield’s negative perception of society only feeds his insecurity and unhappiness. Very often …show more content…

The reader observes Holden’s insecurities when Holden calls the prostitute to his hotel room. He mentions to himself, “I know you’re supposed to feel sexy when somebody gets up and pulls their dress over their head, but I didn’t. Sexy was about the last thing I was feeling. (Salinger 123)” This exemplifies how Holden struggles when dealing with females. Holden demonstrates the magnitude of his insecurities when he states, “Then she sat down on my goddam lap . . . She made me so nervous, I just kept on lying my head off. (Salinger 126)” Holden’s insecurity in an uncomfortable situation caused him to lie his way out of this awkward position. Thus, “Caulfield may be classified as one who avoids life problems, by hesitating . . . (Huber and Ledbetter 252)” The temporary intermission the lie created, only made things worse for Holden. His improper handling of the situation only magnifies his negative nonconformist attitude and makes him feel like more of an …show more content…

Holden points out to the reader that “This is about to be the fourth school [he has] gone to. (Salinger 13)” Caulfield’s grades are sub-par and a result of his failure to study. Thus, indicating his lack of motivation to improve his situation. When Holden receives a scolding from his parents over his grades, he negatively interprets their harsh reaction as abandonment. This creates a whirlwind of problems for Holden, convincing the reader that “Holden is clearly flawed . . . (Bickmore and Youngblood 254)” His failure to reflect upon his poor choices, such as his failure to study and lack of motivation, can be seen as the birthplace from which many of his problems spring, leading to his pessimistic

Show More
Open Document