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Relationships with Holden in "The Catcher in the Rye"

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Introduction

Relationships with Holden in "The Catcher in the Rye" 'The Catcher in the Rye' is written from a first person narrative to be able to convey to the reader Holdens thoughts and feelings and this makes his character seem more believable. Holden describes what he himself sees and experiences, providing his own commentary on the events and people he describes. It takes the form of, perhaps, a session with a psychoanalyst or a one sided conversation with the reader during which Holdens attitudes to other people emerges. We learn that he finds it very difficult to maintain relationships with people and I will be examining Holden's relationship with adults and with his sister and how they differ. Holdens attitude towards adults is very much the same; he is polite and respectful. He prefers to avoid issues with them, for example, with his history teacher he tries to avoid the fact that he is failing in all but one of his subjects. He does not like to talk about his emotions with anyone and instead he isolates himself to show that that he is better than everyone else around him. However, the truth is that relationships with other people usually make him uncomfortable and his belief in his own superiority is there to protect himself. He attempts to be grown up and sophisticated, but, often fails. The episode with Holden's history teacher, Mr Spencer, is a good example of how Holden behaves in the company of adults. ...read more.

Middle

He is the only person that Holden does not label as a "phony" but instead he believes he is intellectual, sensitive and moral. At first, Mr. Antolini seems to offer Holden his only chance of making a sympathetic connection with an adult. Holden respects his teacher's intelligence when he arrives and expects to be understood. He believes this great man will see his point of view, but instead Holden is given a very academic lecture about how brilliance and creativity are the result of a good education. At this point Holden says "I kept trying not to yawn...I was so damn sleepy all of a sudden". Once again, he is finding reasons not to listen to what he knows he should be listening to as he is avoiding dealing with his emotions. Like all other adults in the story, Holden feels that Mr. Antolini betrays his trust. When Holden wakes to find Mr. Antolini touching his head, he immediately thinks the worst and suspects him of "flitty" behaviour. Although we do not meet Phoebe until nearly the end of the book we know a lot about her and about Holden's relationship with her by then. The reader gradually builds up a picture from Holden's isolated remarks. An example of this is when, for no particular reason, Holden decides to stop at a record store and buy a record for Phoebe. He wants to get her a rare record called 'Little Shirley Beans' by "this colored girl singer, Estelle Fletcher". ...read more.

Conclusion

. . But it wasn't just that he was the most intelligent member in the family. He was also the nicest". Thinking of Allie both comforts him and upsets him. On his last day in New York, there is even a point when Holden walks on the street talking aloud to Allie saying; "'Allie, don't let me disappear... Please, Allie.' And then when I'd reach the other side of the street without disappearing, I'd thank him". This conveys how Allie's death was a sort of catalyst to Holden's behaviour as he still feels guilty that he was unable to prevent Allie's suffering. Overall, Holden does get on better with children than adults and we can tell this because he has invented a fantasy that adulthood is a world of "phoniness", while childhood is a world of innocence, curiosity, and honesty. Nothing reveals his image of these two worlds better than his fantasy about the catcher in the rye where he imagines childhood as a field of rye where children play and have fun. Adulthood however, is unknown and frightening and this is why he is so protective towards Phoebe as he does not want her to make the step into the adult world. In my opinion, I think that there is no reason why Holden will not return back to school after his breakdown. If he gets the help that he needs then he can begin to get his life back on track again and start to live a "normal" life as an adolescent and actually enjoy the adventures of growing up instead of fearing them. ?? ?? ?? ?? Relationships in "Catcher in the Rye" Emily Sweetman 11M ...read more.

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