The Perception of the World in The Catcher in the Rye

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The Perception of the World in The Catcher in the Rye

In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden views the world as an evil and corrupt place where there is no peace. This perception of the world does not change throughout the novel. However as the novel progresses, Holden gradually comes to the realization that he is powerless to change all of this.

During the short period of Holden's life revealed in this book, Holden does succeed in making us perceive that the world is crazy. Shortly after, Holden leaves Pencey Prep and checks in to the Edmont Hotel. A sleazy hotel of sort, Holden spends several nights there. Holden describes the Edmont Hotel as a place filled with "morons and perverts." His current situation tends to deteriorate from this point on. As more as he looks around this world, the more depressing life seems to him.

Around every corner Holden sees evil. He looks out on a world that appears completely immoral and unethical. The couple of days that the reader spends with Holden they can see that he is placed in the in the vicinity of Manhattan. The city is decked with decorations and holiday splendor of the upcoming season, however, much to Holden's despair seldom yields any occasions of peace, charity or even genuine cheerfulness. Holden is surrounded by what he views as drunks, perverts, morons and screwballs. These convictions which Holden holds fluctuate very momentarily during only one particular and very memorable scene in the book. The scene is with Mr. Antolini. After Mr. Antolini patted Holden on the head while he was sleeping, Holden jumped up and ran out thinking that Mr. Antolini was a pervert as well. This is the only time during the novel where Holden thinks twice about considering someone as a pervert. After reviewing Mr. Antolini, Holden finally realizes that maybe he wasn't making an unwelcomed pass at him. Maybe he just liked patting guys heads as they slept. This is

really the only time in the novel where Holden actually considers a positive side. This event does not create a significant change. As Holden himself says, "It's not too bad when the sun's out, but the sun only comes out when it feels like coming out." The sun is a reference to righteousness through the common association of light and goodness. Although this insight seems positive, Holden's perception of the world still remains the same.
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