Holden Caulfield is Lost in The Catcher in the Rye

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In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, the leading character, Holden Caulfield, emerges as an adolescence lost in his own private world of pain and suffering, yet ostensibly he was able to provide himself with all the luxuries and splendors of American society. Holden is presented as a failure who struggles to stay in at least one of the four schools he's been kicked out of. This can reflect that Holden can't manage to get by in life. Throughout the book, it is obvious that Holden is running from so many things such as growing up, reality and people who are phonies. It seems that Holden is confused and trapped in memories from moments past, that he is dealing with loneliness and isolates himself as a form of protection. Not only that but he lacks parental attention therefore, is desperate for companionship. Holden says, "The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. . . . Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you." (Salinger 121) This passage in Chapter 16, demonstrates that he is confused and feared that he doesn't know how to deal with change. This may be because of troubling memories or ideas that he chooses not to focus on or has difficulty focusing on. Holden sets out for the reader the underlying theme of Sigmund Freud's work regarding the unconscious state. Freud believed that there are three levels of consciousness in the mind: the conscious, the preconscious, and the unconscious. "The contents of the unconscious cannot be brought directly into consciousness simply by focusing on them; they are brought into consciousness only with great difficulty, if at all. With so much of the contents of the mind mired in the unconscious, we re... ... middle of paper ... ...obe comes off and wants him to join her but he just watched. She put his red hunting hat on him from his coat and assured that he wasn't going to runaway any longer and that he was going to return home. He nodded. It began to rain but he remained on the bench watching her. "My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in a way, but I got soaked anyway" (Salinger 213) he said. This symbolizes the alienation he meant to use to protect himself but he knew that it just made things go wrong and made things harder for himself. Works Cited Hall, Donald, E. Literary and Cultural Theory. Boston: Houghton, Muffin Co. 2001 Salinger, J. D. Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little Brown and Company. 1951. SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Catcher in the Rye.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2007. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.

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