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

What's wrong with Holden Caulfield - Catcher in the Rye

Extracts from this document...


What's Wrong With Holden Caulfield The Catcher in the Rye is the first and only novel written by J. D. Salinger which is told from the point of Holden Caulfield, a 16 year old boy confused about adolescence as he wants to connect to adults on their level but is unable to and just rejects them as phonies and retreats his memories of his childhood. The story has a reflective book-ended structure. Currently he's in an institution because of a breakdown he had a year ago. The narrative covers a weekend which led to this breakdown. He wants us to answer the question, "What's wrong with Holden Caulfield". Holden addresses the reader by saying "you", to make us psychoanalyse him. Holden has been expelled from many schools and has been expelled from his recent school Pencey Prep. Instead of going back home and disappoint his parents, he decides to wander around New York City where he meets interesting characters that either remind him of his unhappiness, phonies or shows him he can't connect to adults. ...read more.


He never addresses his own emotions directly, nor does he attempt to discover the source of his troubles. He desperately needs feelings with other people and love, but his protectiveness prevents him from this. Alienation is both the source of Holden's strength and the source of his problems, for example his loneliness gets him to go on a date with Sally Hayes, but his need for isolation causes him to insult her and drive her away by asking her to run away with him. This shows how unstable he is. Also he desires for the meaningful connection he once had with Jane Gallagher, but he is too frightened to make any real effort to contact her. Another issue with Holden is betrayal. Holden constantly feels betrayed, and that is another one of the many possible reasons of his problems. Early in the novel, Mr. Spencer betrays him. He was one of the few teachers at Pencey that Holden liked. Stradlater betrays Holden by dating his best friend Jane who Holden had a crush on and was one of the very few women how Holden connects with. ...read more.


The museum represents the world Holden wishes he could live in. The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move ... Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you... you'd just be different that's all." Holden finally shows his other side when he cries at seeing Phoebe on the carousel. At that point, he has retreated into childhood, away from the threats of the adult world. He doesn't go on the carousel, with the children and doesn't stand with the adults, he's alone by himself, soaking in the rain. After reading the book, the reader finds out Holden's main reason of unhappiness is his alienation from society, loneliness, and painfulness of growing up and the phonies of the adult world. Salinger ends the novel by giving no indication that if Holden has learned anything from his journey. The story ends with Holden in the mental institution as it was in the beginning of the story. We are unsure if Holden will recover or will be suicidal. J.D. Salinger himself lives a reclusive life isolated from the world, like Holden. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE J.D. Salinger essays

  1. How does Slinger present Holden as being both a strong and a weak character ...

    this point is evident when he says 'they're nice and all - I'm not saying that - but they're also touchy as hell'. Holden also seems to realise that his parents have been through an amount of hardship therefore shows compassion for them 'she hasn't felt too healthy since Allie died.

  2. Holden Caulfield

    After Maurice has left Holden pretends he has a wound in his gut and makes a bit of fun out of the situation. When Holden looks in the mirror after being beaten up he describes how much blood is covering him.

  1. Catcher in the Rye - how Salinger brings Holden's character to life

    Holden fears, him changing to adulthood. He believes that being an adult is hard, however he tries to be an adult by going to the room and wanting to loose his virginity to the prostitute. But, he doesn't succeed and doesn't fit in.

  2. Holden's spiritual Journey in the Catcher in the Rye

    he wants to prevent death, which he views as when a subject vanishes from view, as well as to prevent maturing emotionally to deal with more complex emotions. His relation to preserving things becomes clear in his child-like concern to save the ducks in the pond during winter, his trouble

  1. The Catcher In The Rye

    However in reality, time cannot be held back. Holden was also holding onto the thoughts of Allie. Allie was Holden's intelligent younger brother who died of leukemia aged eleven, three years previously. Allie's tragic death explained Holden's depression and loneliness.

  2. To What Extent Does Salinger Make You Sympathize With Holden Caulfield

    I couldn't get rid of him," Holden could have easily just asked Ackley to leave, but instead he simply puts up with him. This could also be interpreted as Holden simply being kind and not wanting to hurt Ackley's feelings.

  1. The cather in the rye

    This unit is composed of a father, mother, and "little kid." Holden notices the child who is walking in a straight line in the street and humming a tune to himself. Holden approaches him to determine the tune he is singing.

  2. A book review on 'The Catcher in the Rye' By J.D.Salinger

    The kings in the back row are the kings on a checkers game that Jane would never move when she played with Holden one summer. This is also shown when Stradlater says ''For chrissake, Holden. This is about a goddam baseball glove.''

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