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Is Holden Caulfield A Hero

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Holden Caulfield is one of the most well-known antiheroes in American literature, ever since his debut in the book Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951. According to the definition of ‘antihero,’ the character is in many ways the antithesis of a hero, which certainly Holden fits that perfectly. If you consider many of his interactions, he is incapable of reacting in the way that the audience would hope a hero would react. However he does fantasize about being the saving grace for children. He wants to keep them from harm’s way. He wants to be known as the ‘catcher in the rye,’ but he is unable to follow through with this heroic fantasy. He surely does not present the noble characteristics that most heroes have, like honesty, courage, strength and decisiveness. He is actually quite the opposite of all these things. Holden can be seen as: a perpetual liar, a coward, pretty weak for his size, and plagued with passive inaction. These characteristics can spring from an incident in one’s life that the individual was never fully able to overcome. Difficult situations is a part of everyone’s life, but it is how we choose to overcome them that makes us different from each other. Although occasionally the difficult event is too devastating or too powerful to overcome, so one must try other means to cope with the event throughout life. It is this coping that puts serious strains on someone’s mental and emotional attributes long after the event happened. These strains may include things like depression, which is usually brought about in traumatic events involving the dead of loved ones. For Holden this event could be related to his childhood when Holden and his family had to suffer through the time Allie, his younger brother, was bat... ... middle of paper ... ...smate, James Castle, committed suicide while wearing Holden’s sweater. Both drastically effected Holden’s life because he saw the world lose what he considered perfection when Allie dies of Leukemia, and also when Holden witnessed his former classmate die he was wearing Holden’s sweater; so it was almost like Holden watching his own death. This is how he talks throughout most of the novel; more specifically about how everyone is a phony and he can’t really stand anyone and how he also never wants to be a part of the adult world. So to solve all of these problems Holden could die young and not have to worry about any of that anymore. Holden is a boy with good intentions in mind, but due to multiple traumatic events he has faced he is unable to act upon these intentions and dreams, making him a hero in his dreams but an antihero in the reality of Catcher in the Rye.
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