Holden Caufield as Untrustworthy Narrator in The Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caufield as Untrustworthy Narrator in The Catcher in the Rye

Length: 472 words (1.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓


Holden Caufield as Untrustworthy Narrator in The Catcher in the Rye

 

 

The problem with most first person narratives is that there is only one point of view. In The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caufield shares his past experiences as a distressed teenager. The entire story is told through his own troubled mind, which often distorts the experiences. Salinger portrays the reason behind Holden's immaturity by demonstrating his untrustworthy qualities.

 

Most of Holden's views contradict themselves because of Holden's own confusion. This confusion blinds him from being able to realize that most of his criticism is against himself. Salinger clearly presents this after Stradlader hits Holden. "All that blood and all sort of made me look tough. I'd only been in about two fights in my life, and I lost both of them. I'm not too tough. I'm a pacifist, if you want to know the truth"(46). Even though Holden enjoys to see himself beaten up, he contradicts himself by proclaiming he is a peaceful person. Salinger utilizes these contradictions to reveal how unreliable Holden's observations are.

 

Salinger also depicts Holden's immaturity through the judgment of his peers and elders. Holden's disillusionment of good people alters the true personality of each person he meets. Holden even criticizes his new classmates, whom he has not even meet yet. "It's full of phonies/.../and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses, and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day"(131). Just because Holden is uncomfortable in his school, he feels the need to disapprove of everyone. Salinger exploits this immaturity to illustrate the reason for Holden's loneliness and confusion.

 

Throughout the story Salinger introduces characters that actually appeal to Holden, which give him guidance and make him feel better about himself. Mr. Antolini is one of these people. Holden seems hopeless in his quest for happiness, but Mr. Antolini guides him in the right direction. Even after all the help, he still finds a way to scrutinize Mr. Antolini. "What he was doing was, he was sitting on the floor right next to the couch, in the dark and all, and he was sort of petting me or patting me on the goddam head"(192).

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Holden Caufield as Untrustworthy Narrator in The Catcher in the Rye." 123HelpMe.com. 26 Feb 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=14646>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Catcher in the Rye - Character Analysis of Holden Caufield Essay

- The Catcher in the Rye - Character Analysis of Holden Caufield In J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caufield, describes in detail the parts of his life and his environment that bother him the most. He faces these problems with a kind of naivety that prevents him from fully understanding why it is that he is so depressed. His life revolves around his problems, and he seems helpless in evading them. Among others, Holden finds himself facing the issues of acceptance of death, growing up, and his own self-destructiveness....   [tags: In J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye]

Research Papers
748 words (2.1 pages)

The First Person Narrator in J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye Essay

- In J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the first person narration played a critical role in helping the reader to know and understand the main character, Holden Caulfield. Salinger also uses symbolism to help portray the theme that not everything that glitters is gold. Holden, in his narration, relates a flashback of a significant period of his life, three days and nights on his own in New York City. Through his narration, Holden discloses to the reader his innermost thoughts and also helps to introduce the reader to many of the symbols strategically placed throughout the novel....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Research Papers
1095 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on Holden Caulfield is Lost in The Catcher in the Rye

- In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, the leading character, Holden Caulfield, emerges as an adolescence lost in his own private world of pain and suffering, yet ostensibly he was able to provide himself with all the luxuries and splendors of American society. Holden is presented as a failure who struggles to stay in at least one of the four schools he's been kicked out of. This can reflect that Holden can't manage to get by in life. Throughout the book, it is obvious that Holden is running from so many things such as growing up, reality and people who are phonies....   [tags: catcher in the rye, holden caulfied]

Research Papers
1350 words (3.9 pages)

Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger Essay

- The novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” revolves around the protagonist Holden Caulfield as the story is told from his perspective. J.D. Salinger constructed Holden Caulfield as a cynical person who cannot accept to grow up. Throughout “The Catcher in the Rye,” J.D. Salinger uses symbolism to reveal and reinforce critical aspects of the protagonist Holden Caulfield. Three important aspects Holden acquired through Salinger’s use of symbolism are: his stubborn, uncompromising mentality; his softer, more caring respectful side; Holden’s cowardly way of acting and thinking....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye]

Research Papers
1156 words (3.3 pages)

Essay about Holden Caulfield as Protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye

- Holden Caulfield is the protagonist in the novel "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger. Holden has a bleak outlook on life, but respects the basic human qualities. He views the world as having been taken over by materialistic objects such as money and that people do not realize the importance of basic human qualities such as love and kindness. He believes that these basic human qualities can take people further than any material object can. Holden is very cynical of everything around him. He sees the worst in everything and everyone....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, protagonist]

Research Papers
677 words (1.9 pages)

Essay about The Catcher in the Rye

- The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J.D. Salinger. It is narrated by Holden Caulfield, a cynical teenager who recently got expelled from his fourth school. Though Holden is the narrator and main character of the story, the focus of Salinger’s tale is not on Caulfield, but of the world in which we live. The Catcher in the Rye is an insatiable account of the realities we face daily seen through the eyes of a bright young man whose visions of the world are painfully truthful, if not a bit jaded. Salinger’s book is a must-read because its relatable symbolism draws on the reader’s emotions and can easily keep the attention of anyone....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Research Papers
777 words (2.2 pages)

Holden Caufield from The Catcher In the Rye Essay examples

- Holden Caufield from The Catcher In the Rye A family can be classified as one of many things. It can be a group of people living under one roof; a group of people of common ancestry; or even a unit of a crime syndicate like the Mafia (Merriam Webster). But to Holden Caulfield, the main character of J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher In The Rye, his family was what we as a society normally think of when that word is spoken. There are always variations on a theme, but a typical family consists of two parents and at least one child....   [tags: essays papers]

Free Essays
946 words (2.7 pages)

Catcher in the Rye Essay: The Judgmental Caulfield

- The Judgmental Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, is a classic novel about a sixteen-year-old boy, Holden Caulfield, who speaks of a puzzling time in his life. Holden has only a few days until his expulsion from Pency Prep School. He starts out as the type of person who can't stand "phony" people. He believes that his school and everyone in it is phony, so he leaves early. He then spends three aimless days in New York City. During this time, Holden finds out more about himself and how he relates to the world around him....   [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]

Free Essays
880 words (2.5 pages)

Catcher in the Rye Essay: Holden Caulfield - A Nice Kid in a Cruel World

- Holden Caulfield - A Nice Kid in a Cruel World       Over the years, members of the literary community have critiqued just about every author they could get their pen on.  One of the most popular novels to be critiqued has been J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.  In favorable critiques, Holden Caulfield is a good guy stuck in a bad world. He is trying to make the best of his life, though ultimately losing that battle. Whereas he aims at stability and truth, the adult world cannot survive without suspense and lies....   [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]

Free Essays
1767 words (5 pages)

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger as Holden Caulfield Essay

- The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger as Holden Caulfield The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, is home to the protagonist Holden Caulfield. There is no coincidence that he holds a striking resemblance to the author of the novel himself. Salinger seemed to have a similar childhood as Holden describes in The Catcher in the Rye. Both men also seemed to have a certain fascination with younger children, especially younger women. J.D. Salinger based one of his most famous characters, Holden Caulfield, on personal experience....   [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]

Free Essays
424 words (1.2 pages)

Related Searches

Holden completely ignores all the helpful advice that was given to him, and finds something negative to complain about. Holden's naive behavior prevents him from changing his life, and committing to a friendship.

 

Holden's depressive character prevents the reader from recognizing the reality of Holden's life. Salinger keeps this evident through Holden's actions, which can never be taken seriously. Salinger proves the importance of staying truthful to yourself, and never taking shortcuts to happiness. Holden repeatedly fails to realize this and is trapped in his own misery.

 

 
Return to 123HelpMe.com