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Holden in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Essay

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In The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the protagonist, a 16-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield who lives in the 1940s, struggles to concur with the views of his society. After getting kicked out of boarding school once again, Holden runs away to New York. He decides to have an adventure of his own, instead of returning home. Holden's experiences in New York lead to further disruptions in his life, which eventually cause him to be put in rehab. Holden would struggle with the same issues if he were a teenager living today. If Holden Caulfield lived today, he would be able to relate to more people through modern technology like cell phones, the Internet, and social media; however he would be even more hypocritical and at odds with the world because he would disapprove of other people’s use of these technologies, which would make him feel even more alienated.
Holden hates that the world around him is constantly changing, and that people keep leaving, because he knows that the places and people he was once comfortable with are most likely very different from when he was younger. While Holden is in New York, he decides to pay a visit to the Museum of Natural History where he often used to go as a kid. When looking at an Eskimo in a display case, Holden comes to the conclusion that “certain things they should stay the way they are. You should be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone” (122). Holden wants to be able to depend on people and places he knows will always be the same, especially as the world is changing around him. Therefore, living in a time where everything revolves around the use of technology which enables the world to change at a very fast pace, would only intensify Holden’s fe...


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...ed by the use of modern technology would amplify Holden’s sense of alienation. He would find it even more difficult to cope with the fast pace of change, with how early in life children are exposed to influences that take away their innocence, and with how superficial and phony it can seem when life is mostly lived out through connections created by technology. Holden is desperate to find people who understand him and repeatedly tries to reach out to anyone who will listen. He would be even more anxious today to find those kinds of relationships. However, the hypocrite in Holden would also find comfort in the fact that with modern technology, he would have a way of finding and connecting with people he thinks are not phony, people who project themselves as being their own person and not giving into the pressures of society, which judge that everyone should be alike.



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