Holden and Society
J. D. Salinger's notable and esteemed novel, Catcher in the Rye, reflects the hypercritical views of a troubled teenager, Holden Caulfield, towards everyone around him and society itself. This character has a distinguished vision of a world where morality, principles, intelligence, purity, and naivety should override money, sex, and power, but clearly in the world he inhabits these qualities have been exiled. Holder desperately clings to and regards innocence as one of the most important virtues a person can have. However, he son becomes a misfit since society is corrupted and he yearns for companionship, any kind of connection with another to feel whole and understood again. Ironically, despite his persistent belittling and denouncing of others, he does not apply the same critical and harsh views on himself.
In Holden's eyes, society has influenced people to lose themselves. He is outraged by how easily citizens would bend to the ways of society to fit and prevail in it. He claims his own brother, D.B.--a talented writersold out his potential to Hollywood. In his mind, D.B. could be viewed as a prostitute that would sell himself, or his services, to whoever was the highest bidder. Ernie is too portrayed in such a way as D.B. is, as the accomplished and gifted pianist was depicted as using his talent to gain fame and money. Holden found himself disgusted by Ernie's corniness and the way of showing off his talent when passionately playing the piano to entertain as well as amazing the public. Stradlater also is represented as someone that sold out, not by his talents, but by his appearance. Holden angrily referred to him as a real hot-shot for taking advantage of his looks to get any kind of favors done. Disappointment, anger, and frustration filled Holden's heart as he saw these people giving away their innate abilities for something that would not last forever; fame and money.
Holden's inability to fit into society brought on hatred to...
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