Relationships with Holden in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

Relationships with Holden in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

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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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