Holden Caulfield Madness

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Often, a main character’s apparent madness and irrational behavior plays a crucial role in the development of the plot. In J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the rye, central character Holden Caulfield reasonably exhibits eccentric, impulsive and erratic behavior as a reaction to the “phoniness” of everyone around him, the self-alienation he faces and, as a standard coping mechanism for the changes in his life. Holden acts almost solely on impulse. He is often knowingly riling up other characters in the story just because he feels justified in doing so. During his run in with Stradlater, he knew that “he hated it when you called him a moron” and that he would not win if it came down to a fight, but yet he continued taunting him. He also…show more content…
He enjoys the presence of some people, but generally does not like the majority and would prefer to distance himself. He distances himself not because he is conceited, or has a superiority complex, but mainly because he does not think of himself as a phony. He got tired of the people in his school which resulted in him leaving earlier than scheduled, yelling, “Sleep tight, ya morons!” on his way out and then on his way to New York, which is the center of most of the plot. Furthermore, Holden does not like change. According to him, “Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.” But he knows you cannot actually do that, which upsets him and as a result he acts out erratically. He is spontaneous in his actions sometimes, once proposing to “get the hell out of here… drive up to Massachusetts and Vermont… stay in the cabin camps and stuff like that till the dough runs out” to Sally, a girl whom he does not even like much. His reactions to change in his life develop the plot more, adding in pitfalls. Given these points, Holden Caulfield’s apparent madness played an important role to the work. Without it the story would have lacked development and led to
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