Holden's Hardships

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In J. D Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist, Holden, goes through many hardships in his journey to self-knowledge. In the beginning, Holden has to deal with being kicked out of school and not having any place to call home. He is also struggling with the unfortunate tragedy of the death of his beloved younger brother Allie. At the same time, Holden is trying to deal with growing up and accepting the adult world. Throughout the novel Salinger addresses the conflicts faced by a young man struggling with the trials and tribulations of growing up while also confronting personal loss and loneliness along the way.

In the beginning of the novel the reader learns that Holden has been kicked out of his school Pency-Prep. Holden talks about how he has been kicked out of schools in the past and says, "They gave me frequent warnings to start applying myself… but I didn't do it. So I got the ax"(4). This shows that Holden doesn't really care about school, it is not all that important to him. In fact, he decides to leave school early, a few days before Christmas break begins saying that, "I just didn't want to hang around anymore. It made me too sad and lonesome"(51). Holden clearly doesn't feel like he belongs at Percy and he doesn't seem too upset about having to leave either. However, when he does leave Holden isn't ready to go home yet. Stating I "decided I'd take a room in a hotel in New York…and just take it easy till Wednesday"(51). The fact that Holden isn't going home is a sign that he doesn't really feel like he belongs there any more than he feels he belongs at Percy. Holden doesn't really have anywhere to go, not even a friend's house. Most teenage boys who were running away from school because they flunked out and didn't want to face their parents just yet would very likely choose to retreat to a good friend's house for a few days. But Holden doesn't have many friends other than his little sister Phoebe. Holden has to deal with not only...
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