• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Relationships with Holden in "The Catcher in the Rye"

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


. . 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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level J.D. Salinger section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level J.D. Salinger essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the view that in "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" and "Catcher in ...

    4 star(s)

    This could affect Ruby's reliability as a narrator as information is unconsciously withheld. We only see Gillian through Ruby's eyes, and her unreliability may account for Gillian coming off the worst when in reality this may not have been the case.

  2. Peer reviewed

    'Holden's quest is an impossible one; it is a quest for the preservation of ...

    4 star(s)

    It is clear that Holden has an ambivalent attitude towards sexual matters: while he is fascinated by the "perverts" of Edmund Hotel and "can think of very crumby stuff [he] wouldn't mind doing", he seems resistant to the idea of sexual maturation and the loss of innocence that it implies.

  1. Holden's Dislike of Phoniness

    When he finishes his performance, Ernie gives a "very phony, humble bow." (84) Because Ernie plays in a flashy style, Holden senses that he no longer performs his music with heart. When Holden goes to see a theatrical production called "The Lunts" with Sally Hayes, he discovers artificiality in the performance.

  2. Essay on First Person Narrative - Christopher and Holden

    He is always direct in his sentences, he has no sense of humour or sarcasm and doesn't understand feelings such as frustration "And now if I don't know what someone is saying I ask them what they mean or walk away."(3).

  1. Theme in The Catcher in the Rye.

    that those emotions have been replaced with cynicism and general apathy, which he blames on a "phony" world. Holden is able to crystallize his memories when he speaks of "puddles in the street with gasoline rainbows in them". By this point he can be introspective while still remaining firmly in the physical world.

  2. The Catcher in the Rye - Holden's obsession with death

    Holden was very worried about HIS death, he sometimes wishes to die or he gets used to the idea of dying "then I read this other article about how you can tell if you have cancer or not. It said if you had any sores in your mouth that didn't

  1. How does JD Salinger use the character of Holden Caulfield to explore the issues ...

    In chapter 26 Holden and Phoebe go to the zoo, here there is a carrousel that the Caulfield children have gone to since they were little. Salinger uses the carrousel as a symbol and an extended metaphor which helps conclude Holden's journey.

  2. The Catcher In The Rye

    Hours later though, as he reflected on the situation, Holden realized that Mr. Antolini acted merely affectionately, not flirting - the conclusion to which he had initially jumped. Both Holden's pressure to be accepted, and seeing affection as sexual advancements were two of his most immature qualities, but the realization that followed those situations helped Holden mature.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work