Holden Caulfield : The Catcher Of Mystery Filled With Speculation And Rumors

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In The Catcher in the Rye by Jerome David Salinger, Holden Caulfield is a troubled teenager who is swinging dangerously between becoming an adult and protecting the innocence of his childhood. Holden’s repressed feelings, extreme depression and cynicism emerge from Salinger’s own reclusive life. There are several similarities between J. D. Salinger and his protagonist Holden. Salinger lead a life of mystery filled with speculation and rumors. Holden is Salinger’s way of expressing his hidden feelings and dealing with his inner demons without publicly announcing them to the world. Salinger secretly projects his repressed feelings from his difficult childhood, gruesome war experiences, and his own personal feelings about the world inside the thoughts and actions of Holden Caulfield, a disturbed boy, in his one and only timeless classic. The parallels between teenaged Holden and young Salinger are hard to ignore. Obvious similarities include trouble with school, wealthy fathers, and originating from New York. They were also both the manager of their school fencing team. Salinger displayed little interest in school and after attending several schools and was sent to a military school located in Philadelphia (Klingenberger 23). This mirrors Holden’s academic struggles and attendance at Pencey Prep, a school away from his home in New York. Holden’s father is a wealthy lawyer while Salinger’s father was a successful food importer that easily supported his family. Salinger was a “misfit” as a child and struggled with his identity most of his life (Klingenberger 19). Holden also feels different from those his age. This is due to the fact that Holden believes everyone around him is phony and superficial. While Holden resembles physical qual... ... middle of paper ... ... II and then wrote one of the most controversial and influential books in America at that time. Despite becoming a literary sensation, he alienated himself from the world to live a sheltered, quiet life. Holden Caulfield, Salinger’s doppleganger and main character from The Catcher in the Rye resonated with rebellious teenagers around the world. Salinger poured his life and soul into Holden; all his troubles, fears, hopes and dreams became Holden’s as well. Salinger’s novel helped him cope with his horrifying past and facilitated his psychological healing. Holden is a reflection of Salinger’s childhood, bloody war days and philosophy of life. As Camille Paglia impeccably puts it, “The artist makes art not to save mankind but to save himself. Every benevolent comment by an artist is a fog to cover his tracks, the bloody trail of his assault against reality and others.”

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