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The Catcher in the Rye.

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Introduction

The Catcher in the Rye. In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, the cause of Holden Caulfield's depression is his confusion about the societal roles of children and adults. He idolizes children, but wants to be mature; he wants to be mature, yet he thinks adults are "phonies". As evidenced by the "Catcher in the Rye" image, he feels himself to be between childhood and adulthood without belonging anywhere.? Children symbolize perfection in Holden's eyes. He idolizes the dead Allie, almost like the God that is absent from his worldview. From the time the reader is first introduced to Allie, when Holden is thinking about Allie's baseball mitt for Stradlater's composition, Holden is praising him: "He was two years younger than I was, but he was about fifty times as intelligent . . . But it wasn't just that he was the most intelligent member in the family. He was also the nicest, in lots of ways. He never got mad at anybody," (38). Later in the book, Holden prays to Allie to keep him safe or sane or to cheer him up. After Sunny, the prostitute Holden had sent to his room but sent away, leaves his hotel room, he says, "Boy, I felt miserable. I felt so depressed, you can't imagine. What I did, I started talking, sort of out loud, to Allie. ...read more.

Middle

He also says, later, "Even the couple of nice teachers on the faculty, they were phonies, too. There was this one old guy, Mr. Spencer . . . you should have seen him when the headmaster, old Thurmer, came in the history class and sat down in the back of the class . . . After a while, he'd be sitting back there and then he'd start interrupting what old Spencer was saying to crack a lot of corny jokes. Old Spencer'd practically kill himself chuckling and smiling and all, as if Thurmer was a goddam prince or something," (167). Holden also mentions, when talking to Phoebe about Pencey, an old man who came to visit and was look for his initials on the bathroom door, where he had carved them as a student: "He kept talking to us the whole time, telling us how when he was at Pencey they were the happiest days of his life, and giving us a lot of advice for the future and all. Boy, did he depress me! I don't mean he was a bad guy - he wasn't. But you don't have to be a bad guy to depress somebody - you can be a good guy and do it. All you have to do to depress somebody is give them a lot of phony advice - that's all you have to do," (169). ...read more.

Conclusion

That's all I'd do all day," (173). He feels that he is on the edge of "some crazy cliff" - not a child, who would play in the rye, but not an adult who has already fallen over the cliff, either. He doesn't know where he belongs. He goes on to say, "I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy," (173). He cannot think of any other job he would like to have, which indicates that he is not ready for the adult world. And yet, he does not see himself as a child frolicking in the rye.? Holden does not feel accepted or as if he belongs anywhere, and so he is depressed. The depression becomes more acute throughout the story as he seeks out people to spend time with him and care about him. But every attempt fails. He is not adult enough for Carl Luce. He feels he is too adult to ruin Jane's purity. Sally Hayes thinks he's immature. He is too mature to spend all his time with Phoebe. So he is confused, rejected, and depressed throughout the entire book.? ? 344 words ? ? 673 words ? 1032 words ? 1362 words ? 1387 words ?? ?? ?? ?? 91934 ...read more.

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