Catcher in the Rye Symbolism

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The Dangers of Isolation in The Catcher in the Rye

  It is normal to want to get away from all of the problems of the world, but it is not normal to want to be completely isolated from people. Holden wanted to have no human contact what so ever, and that is not normal. Throughout the book Holden expresses a rebellious attitude toward the world, and this rebellious attitude comes from his infatuation with being alone. He isolates himself from the world because he has not yet found himself and is searching.


Holden feels that he must find himself alone with no one else's help. Holden expresses his rebellious side when he gets kicked out of school, again. Holden doesn't like school because he doesn't like doing activities that he loses patience for and sees no point in doing them. Holden also is rebellious in the way that he smokes and drinks when he is a minor. He is an excessive smoker and turns to alcohol to suppress his feelings of depression, which are signs of alcoholism. This behavior is not unheard of, but is rare for a 16-year-old to become an alcoholic. From this rebellious attitude Holden becomes isolated from those around him. His first act of isolation with a combination of rebellion is when Holden doesn't go to the game in the beginning of the book. Everyone was going to be there and he doesn't want to be like everyone else. Getting kicked out of school is another example of him rebelling and the cause of it being isolation. After he leaves Pency, Holden meets up with an old friend of his, Sally. After hanging out with her for awhile Holden asks her if she wants to run away with him. From this we learn that he has a desire to get away from the world. From this quote that Holden said we can tell how much he wants to run away, "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. That way I wouldn't have to have any god dam stupid useless conversations with anybody. If anybody wanted to tell me something, they'd have to write...
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