The Metamorphosis of Holden in The Catcher in the Rye

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The Metamorphosis of Holden in The Catcher in the Rye

Without love and guidance, young people often find themselves lost; unsure of what direction their lives are headed. Such is the case with Holden Caulfield, a character from the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. Holden is a sixteen-year old boy who has lost his way. Hold has suffered a great loss, the death of his Brother, Allie.

Holden is trying to reconcile his emotions since Allie's death. While dealing with their own grief, Holden's parents have neglected his needs and have therefore not addressed this with him. Holden goes searching for answers and companionship since his parents are emotionally unavailable. This story takes up with Holden on in search to all the wrong places to find these things.

After a fight with his roommate at Pencey Prep School, Holden goes to Ackly's room. He strikes up some very superficial conversation and then asks if Ackly wants to play a game of cards. Ackly declines. Asking "Do you know what time it is, by any chance?"(pg.42) Holden is aware of the time but is desperate for a friend. Holden presses father asking if he could spend the night in Ackly's room. Ackly once again denied Holden's request

With that, Holden let's Ackly go back to sleep and lays alone with his thoughts, "I t was depressing out in the street. You couldn't even hear any cars anymore. I got feeling so lonesome and rotten. I even felt like waking Ackly up."(pg.50) At this point Holden decides that he is going to run away for a few days before he has to go home. On the train going into the city, Holden meets up with Mrs. Morrow. He finds her very attractive. An interesting point here is that he te...

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...about the carousel."(pg.213) It started pouring rain but Holden wasn't bothered, he " felt so damned happy."(pg.213) At that point Holden was able to say goodbye to Allie and let go of his grief. Holden returns home with Phoebe, and his family get him some help. He'll be back to school in the fall and this time he's ready to put in an effort.

Sources Consulted

Davis, Robert Con, ed. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 56. Detroit: Gail Research Inc., 1989.

Marsden, Malcolm M. Ed. If You Really Want to Know: A "Catcher" Casebook. Chicago: Scott, Foresman, 2002. 68-73.

Internet Public Library. "Salinger Literary Criticism Collection.".Dec 2001.17 April 2002.< bin/ref/litcrit/>.

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1951
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