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Holden's Pessimistic View of the World in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

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Lies, failure, depression, and loneliness are only some of the aspects that Holden Caulfield goes through in the novel The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger. Salinger reflects Holden’s character through his own childhood experiences. Salinger admitted in a 1953 interview that "My boyhood was very much the same as that of the boy in the book.… [I]t was a great relief telling people about it” (Wikipedia). Thus, the book is somewhat the life story of J.D. Salinger as a reckless seventeen-year-old who lives in New York City and goes through awful hardships after his expulsion and departure from an elite prep school. Holden, the protagonist in this novel, is created as a depressed, cynical, and isolated character and he expresses this attitude through his dialogue, tone, and diction.
Holden Caulfield conveys his melancholy, sarcasm, and seclusion greatly through his dialogue; his vocabulary constantly consists of depression and loneliness. He expresses such agony all throughout the dialogue of the book. An example of this would be when Holden quotes, “When I finally got down off the radiator and went out to the hat-check room, I was crying and all. I don’t know why, but I was. I guess it was because I was feeling so damn depressed and lonesome” (153). In this quote, Holden is expressing his confusion and unhappiness but mostly is just confused to why he is unhappy. He feels a severe amount of misery that devours him, all of which is shown greatly in all of his dialogue. He, at one point in the novel, feels like committing suicide because he cannot handle the pressure. He says that “I stayed in the bathroom for about an hour, taking a bath and all. Then I got back in bed. It took me quite a while to get to sleep- I...


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...Holden is saying that he enjoys lying; he gets a sort of kick out of it. He is an unreliable narrator, especially when he says things like “She was like a hundred years old” which is obviously a false statement and an exaggeration. Holden has altered into this type of character; a character that lies plenty of times which is shown in the novel through diction.
Holden is a pessimistic, remote, and miserable character and he expresses this attitude through dialogue, tone, and diction. Throughout the book he has remained to be a liar, a failure, a loner, and lastly, a suicidal guy who feels like he has no purpose in life. Perhaps Salinger expressed his perceptions and emotions of his teen years in this book and it was a form of conveying his deep inner feelings of his childhood. Readers can see this clearly shown in The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger.


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