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In J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye

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Introduction

Archer 1 Lyndsey Archer English 110-01 Mrs. Joanne Vickers 11-1-02 Holden Caulfield In J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield is a rebellious, judgmental, troubled and hypocritical individual. He does not fit in with the "phonies" of society. A few traumas have occurred in his life, such as his brother Allie's death, and a school friend committing suicide, which seem to be the root of his behavior. He acts as though the world is not good enough for him, and no one can avoid his inner criticisms. Even though he is very quick to judge others, he never criticizes his own actions directly. The characteristics mentioned are portrayed several times throughout the novel and from his actions we try to find out who Holden Caulfield really is. . Holden Caulfield is a rebellious individual. One of the major ways he shows this is by wearing his red hunting hat, which is also a major symbol in the novel. The red hunting hat shows individuality, personality and shows his desire to be different from everyone else. The hat reveals the main conflict in the book: Holden's need for seclusion opposed to his need for companionship. ...read more.

Middle

He is uneasy with his own limitations, and at times demonstrates as much phoniness, brutality, and tastelessness as people he comes across in the book. Holden is young, about 16. While he is telling us this story about his life, he is in an institution that is not named in the novel. Simply from being at a facility, the reader can assume that Holden is mentally troubled. In the novel, he is constantly trying to separate childhood from adulthood. As the novel begins, Holden is atop a cliff pondering the separation of the two. As he is unable to divide the two stages of life, one can see that Holden is on the verge of a mental collapse. Holden is searching for a way to connect with the world that will not cause him pain. He refuses to talk about his early life. Holden doesn't talk about his parents until the later chapters in the book. The only family he mentions before is his brothers, Allie, who died of Leukemia a few years ago and D. B., who is a writer in Hollywood. He seems bitter Archer 4 at D.B. and feels that he has "sold out" to Hollywood, leaving a career in serious literature for the prosperity and reputation of the movies. ...read more.

Conclusion

Holden tells her his own name is Rudolph Schmidt, which is actually the school janitor's name. This is another lie that Holden tells. He is a deceiving individual and charms his way through most of the situations he encounters. These are the characteristics that make some "phony" according to Holden. He is the "phoniest" character in the book. In the novel, Holden is a very peculiar individual. He chooses to exclude himself and criticize the people of society. He meets many people throughout the novel, but never seems to connect with any of them. He is judgmental, hypocritical, troubled and rebellious in almost all aspects of his life. Traumas have occurred in his life that have caused him pain such as the death of a friend from school, and death of his younger brother, Allie. He is looking for a way to live his life without pain. In Archer 6 doing this he has shut the world out, and becomes mentally ill. Instead of dealing with his problems he is constantly running away from them. People he encounters have tried to help him deal with his pain, but no one can figure out Holden or how to help him. He does not like authority, so any approach to help him that is commanding, he rejects. Many have tried but no one seems to be able to explain Holden Caulfield. ...read more.

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