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How does Slinger present Holden as being both a strong and a weak character in 'The Catcher in the Rye'?

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Introduction

How does Slinger present Holden as being both a strong and a weak character in 'The Catcher in the Rye'? Timed : 45mins Salinger, author of the teenage novel 'The Catcher in the Rye', presents the character of Holden Caulfield to have both weak and strong qualities. He shows this through the use of his linguistic techniques. At a first glance it seems that the character of Holden only has weak points however, after a more in depth reading it is clear that he also has some strengths. The first weakness to note about the character of Holden Caulfield is his judgemental tendencies. Throughout the first ten chapters this weakness becomes increasingly frequent. One example of this is when Holden goes to visit his history teacher, upon Mrs. Spencer's opening of the door he comments, 'They didn't have a maid or anything, and they always opened the door themselves. They didn't have too much dough.' By Salinger's use of this sentence Holden is showed to be judgemental towards even those whom he cares for. This suggests that his personality wills him to criticize, as well as this he notices 'flaws' others would not. On the other hand this could show a strength in which he is somewhat perceptive and notices many little differences others would not. ...read more.

Middle

'what I don't spend I lose'; by leaving money behind he is not taking the responsibility that adults have for money onto himself). Holden also shows hostility to Stradlater when he believes that him and his childhood friend, Jane Gallagher, have had some sort of sexual relation. This could either shows strength in the character of Holden or a weakness. First of all Holden may be reacting out of jealousy as it seems that he likes to know both these people better than anyone else this is shown by him commenting about Stradlater 'He was more of a secret slob' and Jane 'she wouldn't move ant of her kings'. If they embark upon having sex then, to Holden, they both know each other better than he does (this again could show immaturity). The hostility, however' could also be shown out of a protective instinct towards Jane showing that Holden can show compassion 'it made me so nervous I nearly went crazy. I already told you what a sexy bastard Stradlater was'. Holden's final weakness that Salinger shows is his embarrassment about his intelligence. Throughout the novel Holden uses colloquial language to talk to the audience such as 'phoney', 'lousy' and 'goddam'. ...read more.

Conclusion

She's very nervous. That's another reason why I hated like hell for her to know I got the ax again'. Holden may compose a negative picture of his parents purely because life with them may hold images of sadness and being let down therefore he tries to block these memories out by judging them such as 'my parents would have two haemorrhages a piece ... but they're also touchy as hell'. Salinger's use of exaggeration here suggests that Holden is trying to hide his true feelings therefore makes up this sentence. Exaggeration could be used to make the statement more believable yet it does the opposite thing. In conclusion, the character of Holden Caulfield, featured in the novel 'The Catcher in the Rye' written by J.D. Salinger, is one who has both strong and weak points. He judges others whilst categorizing them by material standards yet is compassionate and a strong analytical brain. To project these personal attributes to the audience Salinger uses the Personal narrative of Holden Caulfield so that he can show his ideas. This gives the audience a first hand insight to this character's inner philosophy. Salinger also uses the linguistic technique of colloquial language and, in some instances, figurative language. Finally Salinger uses exaggeration to portray the character of Holden Caulfield so that his strengths and weaknesses are clear to the audience. Emily Dart 11C ...read more.

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