Essay on Analysis Of Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye

Essay on Analysis Of Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye

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In Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield is confronted with the difficulties of both humanity and life as he struggles to find direction, as well as a connection to a world which he has lost faith in. From the very beginning of the novel, the reader can appreciate and relate to Holden’s criticism and condemnation about society and the way people in society govern themselves. “Phoniness”, a reoccurring motif in the novel, is one of Holden’s most favorite conceptions, and is his catch phrase for describing the superficiality, hypocrisy, pretentiousness, and triviality that he comes across in the world around him. The painfulness of growing up is another issue that is touched quite frequently upon throughout the novel, as it is showcased through Holden’s creation of a fantasy world where childhood is a place of innocence and honesty while adulthood is only duplicity and deceit. Finally, relationships and intimacy are also sources of discomfort for Holden as he always runs away from the possibilities of affection and crawls back into the shell of isolation that he has created for himself. These three themes, although they may seem to only be typical, adolescent dilemmas, bring to light the injustices and inherent problems in societal standards and ideals. Ranging from the dishonest nature of people, the hardships of becoming an adult, to the difficulties of creating lasting relationships, Catcher in the Rye is not simply about an erratic and irresponsible teenager lashing out at the world, but a message that reveals pressing concerns of the existing, rigid s...


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...g intimacy instead. Holden’s issues with relationships, whether they are platonic or romantic, emotional or physical, show that although he would like to believe that he can carry on perfectly fine without human interaction, nobody, not even himself, can do so.
Though Holden Caulfield seems to be a belligerent teenager rebelling against the constraints of society because he feels trapped, he is also an honest social critic, pointing out the unfairness in society. From the phoniness that plagues the adult world, to the unexpected transition to adulthood that many children are unprepared for, to the hardships of creating lasting and meaningful relationships, Catcher in the Rye sends the message that society is hard to change, and although it is only natural to detest certain aspects of society, it is also necessary to come to peace with one’s place in the world.

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