Holden in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

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The Personalities and Emotions of Holden Caufield

In the novel The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger tells of Holden Caufield’s struggles in life. Holden is a somewhat troubled mind, who has very strong beliefs and thoughts. Holden has many problems going through adolescence. Holden is presented to the readers as being very different in a way that other characters were portrayed during the time period the novel was written. Everyone thinks Holden is crazy. Holden’s character is very casual towards society. People think if that is so then he must also be a very big psychological case.

At the opening of the novel Holden is kicked out of yet another school. He goes to talk to one of is older friends, maybe for advice, and learns that he, himself, has no discipline whatsoever. Holden’s older friend tells him that the grades do not particularly matter. It is no all about poetry or history anymore. He told him that a lot of people have been in the position he is in now, and they have all learned from each other, and that is what it is all about. The advice to Holden was to get back in school, but Holden does not listen because he is so tired. He does not want to hear a lecture, he wants to go to bed and sleep. This visit for advice left Holden sadder and more confused than he ever was before. He does not know what he wants to do now.

Holden is telling this story from some sort of a mental hospital. He is here simply because everyone thinks he is crazy. Holden even refers to himself as being crazy. He stands out in the cold without a coat or gloves. He calls himself crazy stating that he must have a screw loose in order to act in that manner. No one really

brings into account Holden’s childhood during they psychoanalysis. His family was not very stable and he lost his younger brother when Holden was thirteen. If more was known about Holden’s childhood, then we may know more about why he does the things that he does. Such as, provoking fights and then getting beaten, or making sexual advances that he does not carry through. Another thing, Holden has a red hunting cap that symbolizes his great need for protection and also of his rebellion. Holden lets off steam and bypasses a break down by horsing around and by lying.
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