Patrick Rothfuss once claimed, “The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.” The novel Catcher in the Rye focuses on Holden Caulfield, an angst-ridden teen conflicted between remaining in a state of prolonged innocence or transitioning into the world of adulthood, thus facing the corruption and phoniness that it correlates with. Through Holden’s dynamic character, J.D Salinger depicts how innocence is slowly lost when exposed to adulthood.
The book, The Catcher in the Rye, takes place in the years of the 1940s-1950s of New York City. Author J.D. Salinger expresses in the book about the struggles and the countless amount of stereotypes and establishments of the American society. Holden Caulfield, J.D Salinger’s protagonist, gives perspectives of society’s conflicts and facets of society. Holden addresses that would should not change, but should be preserved within a glass case at a museum. Now explore the varieties of encounters and how the give an example of the theme of conflict between control and independence that the protagonist confronts in the book, The Catcher in the Rye.
While reading this book, one may notice that the main character Holden calls almost every character that we meet phonies. Never once in the book did Holden call himself a phony. The word phony was used 48 times throughout this entire novel making it one of the top 5 words used in this book. The Catcher in the Rye is a novel written by J.D. Salinger. This book is narrated by the main character Holden Caulfield. He takes the reader on a journey over a few days from him leaving the school to roaming the streets of New York. The question is Holden a Phony often pops into the minds of the reader. Holden is a phony because he is a hypocrite who does things that he criticize others for. He is a phony because he pretends to be someone that he is not,
In The Catcher in the Rye, the author J.D. Salinger, introduces the protagonist; Holden Caulfield. Holden feels the sense that he cannot choose between the two worlds. For example, he makes it seem as both of them are complete opposites from each other. In the book, Holden wants to keep his innocence, but he also wants to grow up and toss that innocence away. He still keeps his childhood personality by constantly obsessing over things that shouldn’t matter. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden demonstrates the struggle of transitioning between childhood and adulthood by revealing his hassle to grow up.
Grief. Depression. Isolation. What do you think when you hear those words? Holden Caulfield has been through a lot, from being kicked out of several schools to being so depressed he wonders why he should go on living. Holdens family keeps pushing him away and that’s where he learns his tendency to push people away who he cares about. In Holden 's journey, he becomes more and more isolated from the world throughout the book. He isolates himself by choosing to not interact or go out with people. And further, when he does, he only ends up doing things that ruin the interaction with others, and makes himself become more isolated. Holden tries, but is always rejected and unsuccessful with his attempts.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual”. In the book Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield’s lies become habitual throughout the book. Holden is a sixteen-year-old boy, who has been kicked out of several schools including, most recently, Pencey Prep. Holden’s younger brother, Allie, died when Holden was only thirteen and his older brother is too busy working for Hollywood to care about Holden. Although his mother cares immensely for him, Holden saddens her by failing academically. The only motivator that Holden has to continue living is his younger sister, Phoebe, who is extraordinarily intelligent for her age. After he gets kicked out of Pencey, Holden is lost in life. He speaks to many people, seeking advice and comfort, but they are not able to help him find a human connection. Holden’s depression increases throughout the novel, almost to the point of suicide. He criticizes many people and ideas, labeling them as ‘phony’. Holden lies as a result of his depression, in order to hide the fact that he’s lonely and bored with his life, to divert any questions which he believes are too personal, and to create his own reality. In this way, Salinger illustrates how, during difficult times, people resort to lying as a coping mechanism.
Throughout “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D Salinger, Holden Caulfield shows great difficulty making long and meaningful connections with other people. Holden believes he is the normal one but it is actually the other way around. He holds on to a deep emotional road block of the death of his innocent brother Allie. Holden keeps this dragging around with him which causes him to veer from connecting and having a long term relationship with others. Holden is unaware of his problem. When people try to help him he tells them there is nothing wrong with him. Holden wonders why he cannot connect with others. He blames it on other people when the source of his problems is himself. Holden’s past holds him back from connecting with others, but his fear of letting go of his past has him limited and scarred from making new relationships and connections.
Holden Caulfield lives his life as an outsider to his society, because of this any we (as a reader) find normal is a phony to him. Basically, every breathing thing in The Catcher in the Rye is a phony expect a select few, like Jane Gallagher. What is a phony to Holden and why is he obsessed with them? A phony is anyone who Holden feels is that living their authentic life, like D.B. (his older brother). Or simply anyone who fits into society norms, for example, Sally Hayes. Holden’s obsession stems from his fear that he may become a phony one day. So, he spends the book running from adulthood by doing childish things and struggling to keep his life from changing.
In The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Mr. Antolini gives Holden Caulfield advice when he is at one of his lowest points. Already aware of Holden’s mental state and position on school, he quotes Wilhelm Stekel, a psychoanalyst, “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” (Salinger 188). Although Holden fails to grasp Mr. Antolini’s message, the quote applies directly to his life because of his relationship with death as a result of his younger brother, Allie’s, death. Mr. Antolini uses this quote specifically because he wants Holden take a step back and try to live for a noble cause instead of resorting to death.
In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger portrays a fascinating juvenile misfit character extensively named Holden Caulfield. Holden goes to school at the age of sixteen and is said to be a misfit in society. However, even though society is corrupt in some ways, Holden Caulfield is a misfit no matter if people say he is misunderstood in the eyes of society.
Society as a whole is something you make of it. If one wants to denounce the society they live in because it is “phony” that is because they’ve made the world around them phony. The character of Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye is a prime example of someone being stuck in the idea that society is unchanging. Society is just how a person perceives the world in front of them. The eye of the beholder is the one that creates the society of their choice. Therefore, in the end of Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfield is the problem, not society, but this is not a surprise because Holden is the most overly narcissistic and selfish characters to ever have the unwarranted and unnecessary fortune of having an entire book written about him.
From the outset, I have to say that “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger has been one of the most important and influential pieces of literature I have ever read. At its core, the book is a superb coming of age novel which discusses several extremely powerful themes such as the difficulties of growing up, teenage angst and alienation and the superficiality, hypocrisy and pretension of the adult world. These themes resonated deeply with me and were portrayed excellently through the use of powerful symbolism and the creation of highly relatable and likable characters. One such character is Holden Caulfield whom the story both revolves around and is narrated by.
Holden Caulfield, the main protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, embodies the classic teenager in the process of discovering himself, and how the world works. But, regardless of Holden 's rich, prep school lifestyle, the series of events that have mapped out his life up to this point have utterly affected his emotional well being and perception of the world. Many traumatic events such as the death of holds brother Allie, the death of a class mate, and countless numbers of awkward incidents with adults have all added up to affects Holden 's well-being and detach him from reality.
Usually considered a controversial novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger can often express the feelings of being an outcast and the desire to find a meaning in the world. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of the novel, though often complains of the phoniness of the world around him, has a way of creating a deeper meaning within the readers. While the truth may be that Salinger purposely set the story in such a way that the readers will be able to connect with Holden, not often do readers find it easy to do so. While Holden believes that everything around him are wicked and phony, there is part of him trying to protect the innocence of those not corrupted by such phoniness. Although Holden wants to protect and save the innocence of children, can he really do so if cannot protect himself and trust those around him. Though Holden believes the world around him is phony and wicked, and while he wants to be the catcher in the rye, catching those who will fall over cliff; Holden does not only want to save those children but he also wants to save himself.