Every story has a hero, whether it be a classic such as Hamlet and Macbeth, or a more modern film such as Lord of the Rings. However, not all heros are successful in their journeys, and end up as a tragic hero. Throught The Catcher in the Rye, Holden faces failure. After flunking out of school for the fourth time, Holden goes back to New York to start his journey and figure out what to do with his life. Holden then goes through life, acting childish and being unable to progress in his venture into the future. J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is a great example of a tragic hero, as the reader follows Holden Caulfield as he retells his story, which exemplifies his immaturity through his inability to interact with people, his sporadic decisions and his lack of aspirations.
Holden’s immaturity is shown through his inability to properly communicate with other people, whether they be his peers or adults. He tries to make excuses, calling everyone a “fake” or “phony”, saying that everyone only cares about themselves and therefore aren’t real with others. This is a defense mechanism for him, making it harder for him to communicate with people, thus frustrating him. One example of these failed interactions can be seen with his roommate from Pencey Prep, Stradlater. Holden questions if Stradlater hooked up with his date that night, Jane Gallagher, who was a childhood friend of Holden’s. When Stradlater is dodgy with his answer, saying “That’s a professional secret, buddy” it angers Holden to the point of physically harming him (Salinger 43). This shows immaturity because a mature person would understand that Stradlater doesn’t want to talk about it, and would not turn to violence to try and solve their problems. ...
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...ng oil. This shows how he doesn’t think too highly of himself and that he won’t go anywhere in life.
Arthur Miller’s “Tragedy and the Common Man” states that the real struggle is “that of the individual attempting to gain his ‘rightful’ position in his society.” Holden struggles to find his place in society and therefore does not complete his journey, making him a tragic hero. In his attempt to find that place, his lack of maturity misguides him, resulting in failed interactions with others, sporadic decision making and revealing his lack of ambition in life. His childish ways never allowed him to connect with people, being one of his many flaws. Also, by focusing only on his past, he never looked towards his future, therefore never setting having an objective in life. His overall immaturity, while dealing with many serious situations, was what lead to his downfall.
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