Catcher in the Rye

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  • Topic: Conflict
  • Pages : 3 (1040 words )
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  • Published : October 13, 2009
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The widely regarded Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, once said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” (Creative Quotes). People have very disparate reactions to the word “conflict”. Some people rise up in choler at the word while others cower in trepidation. However, “conflict” does not mean “altercation”. There are many diverse types of conflict: conflict with self, with people, with nature, and so forth. Self conflict can be the antecedent of all other conflicts. In Buddhism, it is said that to be at peace with the world, one must be at peace with oneself. Holden, the main character in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, seems to have many conflicts. Yet, these are all inveterately established in his conflict within himself. Self conflict is the initiator of all other conflicts and is exemplified in Holden’s conflicts with his parents, his teachers, and his peers.

Throughout the book, Holden is incessantly in a basic conflict with his parents. Although, in the story, Holden is never face-to-face with his parents, he often finds ways to ventilate the conflicts he has with them. The conflict between the two parties has chiefly to do with Holden’s implementation at school. Albeit, he does not care about school, he knows that his parents “[will] be pretty irritated”, and yet, he keeps failing school (Salinger 13). This demeanor indicates that he consciously foments conflicts with his parents, and does not care. He does not want to handle the consequences, so he is further challenging his parents’ dominion. Instead of being veracious, he schemes to “[go] away…get a job on a ranch or something for a while” (214). Withal, he does not commence this conflict for the exclusive reason of failing school or attaining his parents’ disdain. Rather, it is due to the fact his school was “full of phonies. And mean guys” (217). Holden does not accept his culpability only, instead, blames the school. The reason that he believes everybody...
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