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Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger Essay

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Catcher in the Rye is one of the most famous books in American literature. Written by J. D. Salinger, it captures the epitome of adolescence through Salinger’s infamous anti-hero, Holden Caulfield. Holden Caulfield learns about himself and his negative tendencies, and realizes that if he does not do something to change his perspective, he may end up like his acquaintance James Castle whom he met at Elkton Hills. Holden tries to find help to mend his outlook on life through Mr. Antolini so he does not end up like James, who did not want to face the problems he created for himself. This is proven by the similarities between James Castle and Holden, Mr. Antolini’s willingness to try and help Holden, and Holden’s future being forecasted by James.
Holden met James Castle at Elkton Hills school, and even though they only have one conversation together, there are striking similarities between the two characters. Both James and Holden are quite skinny and weak looking. In math class, the role call went “Cabel, R., Cabel, W., Castle, Caulfield,” (171). Holden’s name was right after James’. James is always one step ahead of Holden, implying to the reader that Holden could possibly be the next James Castle. James Castle passes away because he jumps out a window, after some boys had chased him into the bathroom because he “wouldn’t take back something he said about this very conceited guy, Phil Stabile” (170). James refused to take back his comment. Both Holden and James find flaws in people, and are very judgemental. This could lead to Holden’s demise, just like it did with James. If Holden is not careful, saying the wrong thing to someone could throw them off the edge, or Holden could drive himself mad with all those negative thoughts....


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...eir thought processes are flawed or not. But this unwillingness to conform was what caused James’ jump out the window. Although Holden does admire James’s integrity, he also realizes that if he does not change his ways, he could end up like James. But Holden would not have someone like Mr. Antolini to help him out and cover his body. Holden must find a driving force within himself that wants to make him change. He must find a new outlook on life, and he cannot be afraid of growing up. He must set an example for Phoebe, and show her that running away or flying away from her problems are not an option. Ducks can only fly for so long. And Holden must realize that he cannot progress when he is judging all of the phonies of the world. The Catcher in the Rye must find a balance between becoming an adult, and flying away.


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The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger


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