Dealing with Death in Catcher in the Rye

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Dealing with Death

        Dealing with death is not easy in real life. Everyone has to deal with death. It is something that has been emotionally hurting people from the beginning of mankind. It is an experience that no human being ever wants to go through. Death of a loved one can also lead a person to do things that he normally would not even think about doing. In the book Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Holden faces a great deal of pressure by the death of his brother. Throughout the book Salinger brings up the motif of “Dealing with Death” which is used to demonstrate people who do not accept the death of their loved ones and put themselves in a huge amount of pain but finally realize that the dead person only existed in their imagination.

The first sign of the motif “Dealing with Death” was seen when Holden talks about his brother Allie’s death. Holden displays many feelings that show that he really liked his brother and cared for him. For example, when Holden talks about his brother Allie’s baseball mitt, and his death, he feels that we would “have liked him” (Salinger 38). Therefore we can consider that since Holden hates everything but Allie, he really loved him and sill does. Another example was when Holden was going to be “psychoanalyzed and all” because he “broke all the windows in the garage” with his bare fist (Salinger 39). Holden breaks the windows on the day Allie died. Therefore we can believe that Holden broke the windows because he was really depressed from his brother Allie’s death and did not know how to show his aggression. Holden continues to talk about Allie’s death throughout the rest of the book. His desire to talk to Allie just keeps increasing.

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        As we continue towards the middle of the book we find many more signs of the motif “Dealing with Death”. For example, after old Sonny leaves Holden gets very upset and talks “sort of out loud, to Allie” (Salinger 98). Holden also tells us that he talks out loud to Allie when he gets depressed. Therefore, we can say that Holden does not want to let go of Allie out of his life. Hence he stores Memories of Allie safely in his heart. The example above obviously proves that Holden really loved his brother Allie and still does. Another sign ...

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