Holden's Perception of Others in Catcher in the Rye Essay

Holden's Perception of Others in Catcher in the Rye Essay

Length: 1179 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Holden's Perception of Others in Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger's novel Catcher in the Rye revolves around Holden's encounters with other people. He divides all people into two different categories, the "phonies" and the authentics. Holden refers to a "phony" as someone who discriminates against others, is a hypocrite, or has manifestations of conformity. A person's age, gender, and occupation, play a key role in how Holden interacts with them.

Holden shows a particular liking towards children over adults. He values the innocence and authenticity of children and he tries to protect them from the phoniness and evil of the world. When he goes back to his old school at the end of the novel to give a note to Phoebe, he sees an obscenity on the wall that infuriates him. He says, "Somebody'd written `F*** you' on the wall. It drove me near damn crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them-all cockeyed, about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days. I kept wanting to kill whoever'd written it" (201). When Holden's sister Phoebe demands that he tell her one thing that he really likes, Holden's responds saying, "I like Allie...And I like doing what I'm doing right now. Sitting here with you, and talking and thinking about stuff..." (171), showing that he's most content in the simple and innocent world of his childhood.

Holden has a respect for women that he views as unnatural. He feels that his sexual desires should be similar to those of his roommate Stradlater and peer, Luce. Holden shows his confusion by saying, "The thing is, most of the time when you're coming close to doing it with a girl, a girl that isn't ...

... middle of paper ...

...c artistry to "phony" artistry, Holden lost respect and his opinion of his brother changed.

Holden divides people into the "phony" and authentic groups based on age, gender, and their occupations. The novel revolves around Holden's encounters and interactions with the people, which makes Holden decide subconsciously not to try to escape society through death. But, ultimately he learns that you cannot protect the innocent from the "phonies" of the world.

Works Cited

If You Really Want to Know: A "Catcher" Casebook.  Ed. Malcolm M. Marsden. Chicago: Scott, Foresman, 1963.  68-73.

Crispell, Diane.  "The Holden Syndrome."  American Demographics.  Aug. 2001.

 Online.  7 June. 2003.  Available http://www.marketingtools.com/Publications/AD/96_AD/9608_AD/9608AF01.htm

Salinger, J.D.  The Catcher in the Rye.  Boston: Little, Brown, 1991.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Free Essays - The Phony Holden of Catcher in the Rye

- The Phony Holden of Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger writes about a young man who is very distraught after World War II. In Salinger's only published novel The Catcher in the Rye he talks about a young man who does not understand society and the surroundings he lives in. He keeps referring back to how everyone and everything around him is a phony. He makes himself seem unreliable by telling the reader that he lies openly. In the novel Holden is what you would call an unreliable narrator....   [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]

Free Essays
1438 words (4.1 pages)

Preservation of Innocence In The Catcher in the Rye Essay

- Themes in literary works are central, recurring ideas or messages that allow us to understand more deeply about the characters. It is a perception about life or human nature that is often shared with the reader. In The Catcher in the Rye, there are several themes that can be found in the words and actions of the narrator, Holden Caulfield. The dominating theme in this novel is the preservation of innocence, especially of children. We can see this throughout the novel, as Holden strives to preserve innocence in himself and others....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Strong Essays
539 words (1.5 pages)

Symbolism in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye Essay

- Many novels cannot be fully understood and appreciated if only read for face value, and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is no exception. The abundant use of symbolism in Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is of such significance that it “proclaims itself in the very title of the novel” (Trowbridge par. 1). If the symbolism in this novel is studied closely, there should be no astonishment in learning that The Catcher in the Rye took approximately ten years to write and was originally twice its present length....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye]

Strong Essays
2836 words (8.1 pages)

Innocence In The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger Essay

- ... Consequently, Holden’s constant thoughts about suicide lead to his own loss of innocence and advancement toward adulthood. Likewise, Holden is also consistently rejected when he seeks help from others. On Saturday night, Holden rides the cab to Ernie’s. During the ride, Holden “sort of [strikes] up a conversation” with Horwitz, the cab driver, about the ducks in Central Park (Salinger 81). Holden does not know where to go and feels lost, relating himself to the ducks during winter. However, Horwitz blatantly shows no interest in the ducks and diverts the conversation to the fish in the pond instead, thinking that winter is “tougher for the fish” (Salinger 82)....   [tags: death, childhood, holden]

Strong Essays
1416 words (4 pages)

Holden's Lonliness Catcher In the Rye Essay

- Many young people often find themselves struggling to find their own identity and place in society. This search for self worth often leaves these young people feeling lonely and isolated because they are unsure of themselves. Holden Caulfield, J.D. Salinger's main character in the book The Catcher In the Rye, is young man on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. One contributor to this breakdown, is the loneliness that Holden experiences. His loneliness is apparent through many ways including: his lack of friends, his longing for his dead brother, and the way he attempts to gain acceptance from others....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
600 words (1.7 pages)

Holden Caulfield and the Pressures of Society: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

- ... The reason behind these lies is to keep Mrs. Morrow from becoming hurt or disappointed, supporting Pinsker’s belief. Even with a stranger that Holden barely knew, he is attentive and does anything to keep he or she happy. Additionally, when Holden and his friend, Mal, are going out for the night, Holden invites Ackley to come along with them. Although Mal is reluctant, Holden eventually convinces him to let Ackley accompany them. Holden finds Ackley annoying and obnoxious at times but feels sympathy for him....   [tags: confucius, symbols, good child]

Strong Essays
1289 words (3.7 pages)

Holden Caulfield: Typical American Teenager Essay

- It is difficult to really define American teenagers, but they’re seen as confused and without any real identity age wise. Although not as prominent as in the 20th century, teenagers have to deal with a misleading phoniness in society today. The teenage years are when a person really decides (or has a decision forced on them) how their views will develop, such as living with optimism or pessimism. Because of pressure from media, peers and parents, teenagers either try to grow up too quickly or simply refuse and get left behind....   [tags: Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger]

Strong Essays
1022 words (2.9 pages)

The Catcher In The Rye Essay

- In the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield has a deep-rooted desire to keep himself and the world around him from changing. In fact the novel was banned partially "based on the perception that Holden is an unregenerate, and unchanged person." However there is evidence that Holden does change near the end of the novel. It is incorrect to say that Holden stays unchanged from start to finish, because by the end of the novel he is trying to rid himself of his defensive nature and accept change as a good thing....   [tags: Book Review]

Free Essays
1038 words (3 pages)

Essay on Catcher

- Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfied: Saint, Snob, or Somewhere In-between. Although J.D. Salinger has only one novel to his credit, that novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is recognized as an exceptional literary work. The key to the success of The Catcher in the Rye is the main character, Holden Caulfield. There are many different critics that view Holden in many different ways. Some believe Holden to be a conceited snob, while others see Holden as a Christ-like figure. It is my opinion, however, that Holden is somewhere in the middle....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1269 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about Comparing Maturation in Catcher in the Rye and Red Badge of Courage

- Maturation in Catcher in the Rye and Red Badge of Courage   The Catcher in the Rye and The Red Badge of Courage detail the gradual maturation of two immature boys into self-reliant young men. The steady speed at which Salingerís and Craneís language streams enables the reader to see the independent events that lead up to the ultimate rite of passage for both Henry and Holden. Although the pinnacle of maturity Holden reached concerned his pessimistic view of the world and Henryís was a unifying moment of bravery, both boys experienced an epiphany over the course of their respective tales....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Strong Essays
1430 words (4.1 pages)