Essay on Judging Others in J.D. Salinger´s The Catcher in the Rye

Essay on Judging Others in J.D. Salinger´s The Catcher in the Rye

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Judging others is a natural characteristic for humans, but many take it too far. From sharing their opinion when unnecessary to making rude comments towards another with no lack of remorse, people fail to realize the effects that judging others can have on their behavior and emotions. Holden Caulfield, from J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, underscores this concept. Throughout Salinger’s novel, the reader obtains the conclusion that Holden is extremely judgmental of those around him. Holden’s critique of others is a defense mechanism based on fear because he feels judged by the adult world that surrounds him; he in turn pushes his feelings upon other people to justify his own thoughts, hiding behind a “phony” exterior that he has created to deflect the criticism he feels from others.
When looking at a person, one automatically judges him/her based on their overall appearance. Holden does this often, starting with Selma Thurmer. He declares, “she had a big nose and her nails were all bitten down and bleedy-looking and she had on those damn falsies” (Salinger 3). He instantly judges her because he inquires that she appears ugly and trying too hard to look pretty when, but in his opinion, she is not. Holden’s judgment is slightly based on the fear of the unknown; “he places women on a comfortably distant pedestal” and never thinks twice about it (Maple). However, fears not the only aspect driving Holden's judgment; it is his idea of having to live up to the standards of you don't well that is nearing his future.
The adult world disturbs him by it's sophisticated ideas and values. "What disturbs Holden about the world in which he finds himself is adults and their values; he feels that the world belongs to adults and it...


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...rown, 1951. Print.
Seng, Peter J. "The Fallen Idol: The Immature World of Holden Caulfield." College English 23.3 (Dec. 1961): 203-209. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Gerard J. Senick. Vol. 18. Detroit: Gale Research, 1989. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CH1100000724&v=2.1&u=m ans90319&it=r&p=LitRC&sw=w&asid=58f8cd6a219854ea610c056c5b8d534.
Tolchin, Karen R. "Optimism, Innocence, and Angst in The Catcher in the Rye." Part Blood, Part Ketchup: Coming of Age in American Literature and Film. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, Inc., 2007. 33-45. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Jelena Krstovic. Vol. 181. Detroit: Gale, 2013. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 March 2014.http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CH14201140 74&v=2.1&u=mans90319&it=r&p=LitRC&sw=w&asid=7d81a8521e4ee766775 5115e976291ac.

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