Relationships with Holden in The Catcher in the Rye

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Relationships with Holden in The Catcher in the Rye ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is written from a first person narrative to be able to convey to the reader Holdens thoughts and feelings and this makes his character seem more believable. Holden describes what he himself sees and experiences, providing his own commentary on the events and people he describes. It takes the form of, perhaps, a session with a psychoanalyst or a one sided conversation with the reader during which Holdens attitudes to other people emerges. We learn that he finds it very difficult to maintain relationships with people and I will be examining Holden’s relationship with adults and with his sister and how they differ. Holdens attitude towards adults is very much the same; he is polite and respectful. He prefers to avoid issues with them, for example, with his history teacher he tries to avoid the fact that he is failing in all but one of his subjects. He does not like to talk about his emotions with anyone and instead he isolates himself to show that that he is better than everyone else around him. However, the truth is that relationships with other people usually make him uncomfortable and his belief in his own superiority is there to protect himself. He attempts to be grown up and sophisticated, but, often fails. The episode with Holden’s history teacher, Mr Spencer, is a good example of how Holden behaves in the company of adults. When Holden visits him he talks about how Mr Spencer is wrapped up in a blanket and that there is “pills and medicine all over the place and everything smelt like Vicks Nose Drops”. He is quite bothered about the fact that he is in an atmosphere he considers as unpleasant and describes it as being “d... ... middle of paper ... ... does get on better with children than adults and we can tell this because he has invented a fantasy that adulthood is a world of “phoniness”, while childhood is a world of innocence, curiosity, and honesty. Nothing reveals his image of these two worlds better than his fantasy about the catcher in the rye where he imagines childhood as a field of rye where children play and have fun. Adulthood however, is unknown and frightening and this is why he is so protective towards Phoebe as he does not want her to make the step into the adult world. In my opinion, I think that there is no reason why Holden will not return back to school after his breakdown. If he gets the help that he needs then he can begin to get his life back on track again and start to live a “normal” life as an adolescent and actually enjoy the adventures of growing up instead of fearing them.

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