Many people find that their dreams are unreachable. Holden Caulfield
realizes this in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. As Holden tells his
story, he recounts the events since leaving the Pencey School to his
psychiatrist. At first, Holden sounds like a typical, misguided teenager,
rebellious towards his parents, angry with his teachers, and flunking out of
school. However, as his story progresses, it becomes clear that Holden is
indeed motivated, just not academically. He has a purpose: to protect the young
and innocent minds of young children from the "horrors" of adult society. He
hopes to freeze the children in time, as wax figures are frozen in a museum.
After interacting with Phoebe, his younger sister, Holden realizes that this
goal is quite unachievable. Holden wants to be the Catcher in the Rye, then
realizes it is an unreachable ideal.
Holden begins his story misguided and without direction. After flunking
out of the Pencey School, Holden decides to leave early. Before he leaves,
though, he visits his teacher, Mr. Spencer. Mr. Spencer and Holden talk about
his direction in life: "Do you feel absolutely no concern for your future,
boy?' Oh, I feel some concern for my future, all right. Sure. Sure, I do.' I
thought about it for a minute. But not too much, I guess,'" (14). After
leaving Pencey, he checks into a hotel where he invites a prostitute up to his
room. He gets cold feet and decides not to have intercourse with her, though.
Later, Holden decides to take his old girlfriend, Sally Hayes, to the theater.
After taking her to the theater, Holden formulates a crazy plan which entails
running away with Sally, getting married, and growing old together. Sally
thinks that he is crazy, and she decides to go home. During his stay away from
home, Holden drinks and smokes, showing even more misdirection. However, when
Holden returns home and talks to his sister, Phoebe, his direction becomes... [continues]
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(1999, 10). The Catcher in the Rye: Unreachable Dreams. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Catcher-Rye-Unreachable-Dreams-5019.html
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