Weakness Of Holden Caulfield

J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye exposes the main character, Holden Caulfield, to the adult world; a world in which Holden does not want to believe in. Faced with many obstacles, Holden is forced to enter into an adult-like state of mind, something in which he can not manage on his own. Holden’s many failures, including, his relationships with others and getting kicked out of multiple prep schools greatly contribute to his longing to remain a child. Holden states once on a museum trip that, “Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that’s impossible but its too bad anyway.” He loves the displays, because they never change, they are reliably permanent (Barlow). Salinger develops Holden into a teenage boy on the brink of adulthood who despises the thought of growing up.
Holden’s psyche throughout the novel is similar to those who are struggling to find their place in the world. J.D. Salinger finds his voice through his character, Holden Caulfield, by using Holden’s behavior as a symbol for the unstable adolescent in todays world. Holden speaks to his audiences because he reaches outside his comfort zone even though it leads to failure. Holden is not an average popular teenager, he is simply a confused individual learning the cruel ways of the world. The Catcher in the Rye itself is the narrative of an idealistic American innocent who is filled with doubt, anger and disappointment as he begins to reach the mature society he is expected to fulfill (Steinle 140).
Holden Caulfield’s view of the world is very different compared to many readers of The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is extremely judgemental towards almo...

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...eginning will judge Holden for his behavior, so in a way the readers are the same as Holden. Throughout the book, Holden gets worse and worse and sooner or later begins to spiral downward into what most people would consider a nervous breakdown. This book is not only a story about a confused boy on the verge of breaking down, but also about a boy who takes the chances many of his readers do not feel capable of risking (Privitera). Loneliness is a major component of alienation, and Holden is very lonely (Unrue 63). Holden has no friends or family to turn to when times get hard for him. The audience can relate to this because many people who read this book for the first time are about the same age as Holden. They are going through the same issues and are feeling the exact same way. Salinger uses Holden as an example for how teens react when they are lost in society.
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