Free Catcher in the Rye Essays: Role of Allie

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The Role of Allie in Catcher in the Rye

Some authors create characters that appear briefly or not at all, but are a

significant presence. Even though he was dead, Allie affected the action, theme and

development of Holden.

The death of Holden's younger brother Allie played an important role in Holden's

actions. Holden could not deal with his death and showed it by causing physical harm to

himself. He did this to escape the pain he was feeling inside. Holden said that Allie was

"terrifically intelligent" and the "nicest" person. Because Allie died so young, Holden felt

that his innocence was taken away from him. This led to many of Holden's actions. Such

as, Holden acted out and pretended to be people so that you could deal with the pain he

felt inside. It caused Holden to condone something that he was strongly opposed to as a

mere escape from the present. This is a direct result of the strife Allie’s death left on


The theme of Catcher in the Rye was greatly influenced by Allie. Because of his

early death, Holden felt his innocence had been stolen. In reaction to this Holden felt it

was his responsibility to protect the innocence of all children. As a result he developed a

job that he would like to have-- "a catcher in the rye." He would stand at the edge of a

cliff and catch the kids who were about to fall off. This meant that if someone was about

to lose their innocence, Holden would save them. If it weren’t for Allie, Holden would

not feel obligated to act as a proctector of innocence.

Throughout the novel, Holden repeatedly asked Allie not to let him disappear.

Holden felt like he was becoming invisible to the work around him. He had great respect

for Allie and knew that if anyone could save him, Allie could. During one incident, Holden

calls for Allie. This marks his breakdown. It is then, because of Allie, that he realizes that

it is inevitable that he will grow up. Holden is put in a psychiatric hospital.
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