Holden’s Relationship with Women
The novel “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger is about a 17-year-old boy named Holden. Holden gets in a very bad condition after his younger brother Allie dies from Leukemia. He gets mentally ill and suffers from serious depression. Holden goes through tough times in which he has a lot of trouble finding friends and keeping good relationships. Relationship and sexuality are big motifs in the novel, which come up very often. Holden is always on the look for a new friend but he always turns away in the last moment. When Holden interacts with women in the novel, he is very different than when he interacts with men. The women characters in the book all are very important because they represent and symbolize many different things. He is very nice to younger female characters but to older females he gets sexually attracted to. When this happens he will do anything to get the woman’s attention, which leads to him being an extremely disrespectful and impolite teenager who is very immature. In general, Holden tries to be nice to people of the opposite sex and wants to create friendships but his immaturity makes him think of women as objects and his disrespect towards others will not help him get through his life.
Holden is very nice to older women such as the nuns, Ernie’s mother and also Faith Cavendish. However, he is so kind because he is sexually attracted to them and this will cause him to lie so that he can impress the person. There are several different cases when it is clear that he is intentionally rude to older woman. At one point in the story Holden calls a prostitute to his room but once he sees how young she is he feels sorry for her. Holden then says “If she’d been a big old prostitute, with a lot of makeup on her face and all, she wouldn’t have been half as spooky”(88). This indicates that Holden would have rather done it with an older woman because he values younger girls. When Holden meets Ernie’s mother and...
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