Catcher in the Rye Deconstruction

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Holden Caulfield. The name alone insinuates thoughts of tormented teen angst and a lonesome rebel in a world filled with phonies. To say that the protagonist of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye produced theories and speculation would be a gross understatement. Vast amounts of hypotheses sprang up on the deeper implications of Salinger's famous character. According to various readers and critics, Holden Caulfield represents the metamorphosis from adolescence to adulthood, demonstrating hope for a better future amid one's darkest hour. Some consider Caulfield a symbol innocence, and its loss as an inevitable step towards the transition to adulthood. So a question arises; is Holden really worthy of all this hype? Is he a protector of innocence and a shining beacon of hope for teen misfits in a cold, dark world? To put it simply, no. His innocence, and protection thereof, is not entirely sound. Holden is hardly the epitome of virtue, nor is he an exemplary example of the passage to adulthood. As a character, he is hypocritically cynical and whiningly lonesome. Holden Caulfield is about as inspiring as a pinkie toe. Main character aside, the idea of all children being innocent until unavoidably corrupted by the adult world is false. Holden lacks innocence and success in life, and his entire purpose in life is a lie, meaning he must conform or he will suffer the pitiful remainder of his life in dissatisfaction. Throughout the course of The Catcher in the Rye, it becomes obvious that Holden Caulfield is uncomfortable with the notion of sex. He talks about it constantly, to the point it becomes vexatious, but sex clearly scares him. When discussing girls he really likes, Holden shows that he can't have intimate or sexual relationships with them: "You never wanted to kid Jane too much. I think I really like it best when the opportunity arises, but it's a funny thing. The girls I like best are the one I never feel much like kidding" (p 79)....
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