Is Holden Caulfield Reliable

1050 Words5 Pages

Mason Coyne
English10, Pd.5
14 March 2023
The Fib
In books and stories, an unreliable narrator is not what a reader in-visions and not what the readers like essentially. The book Catcher in the Rye is about a teenage kid Holden that has crazy actions such as leaving school, and his home, and never really coming back for a while. Holden reveals to the reader his unreliable narration to the readers throughout the story through his actions of lying, immaturity, and hypocrisy. Basically making him untrustworthy to the readers.

All through the story, Holden is pretty unreliable due to his lying. Holden is an unreliable narrator which is clearly seen in the book when a woman asks for his name. His response is, "Rudolf Schmidt"(Salinger …show more content…

For instance in the story Holden says “It looked pretty as hell, and we all started throwing snowballs and horsing around all over the place. It was very childish, but everybody was really enjoying themselves.”(Salinger PDF 23). Throughout the story, Holden does very childish things. He made people act negatively, rudely, and immaturely. He thinks he can do whatever he wants just because he's a kid until he realizes it doesn't last forever. Another instance of this is when Holden explains to the reader where he says “You take a really smart girl, and half the time she's trying to lead you around the dance floor, or else she's such a lousy dancer, the best thing to do is stay at the table and just get drunk with her.”(Salinger PDF 44). Holden messes around in things he shouldn't do or even care for but it affects him. He feels the saying “you only live once” is his motto (he doesn't say that but he acts like it). His immaturity is him growing up too fast. He thinks it's okay to act like a 21-year-old when he knows much better. A secondary source about the novel also has some words to say about Holdenss immaturity to where he says “While such positive interpretations of Holden correct reductive interpretations that simply dismiss Holden as an immature cynic, Duane Edwards's , “Holden Caulfield: Don't Ever Tell Anybody Anything,” advances an even more complex interpretation of Holde.”(Bennet SS). He’s …show more content…

According to the text, Holden explains, “I sort of started pretending I had a bullet in my guts. Old 'Maurice had plugged me”.(Salinger PDF 64). He then proceeds to say how he's doing this just to “get a good shot of bourbon or something…”. Holden saying this is very unreliable to the readers and even himself when he could get into trouble or even hurt. He has to realize that his hypocrisy is making him go nowhere in life. Holden then continues to reveal the same trait when he says “didn't know anybody. I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. That way I wouldn't have to have any goddam stupid useless conversations with anybody.”(Salinger PDF 119) The evidence above is beyond human-like to even act that sort of way. Holden's hypocrisy towards this way of acting is unbelievable to the reader. Proving to the audience that he's a sick, unreliable narrator to trust. Another Secondary source coming from Susan K. Mitchell explains how in-depth she is into Holdens hypocrisy in the novel. She states “Holden will not tell much about his parents beyond his veiled opinion that they both are phony hypocrites. The reader is not even told their first names. From the beginning, we are led to believe that they are hypersensitive about Holden's revealing their personal life because they want to protect their created image of conformed perfection”(Mitchell SS)Mitchell's point is so clear there is not

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