Holden: a Liar or an Honest Guy

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The story of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is given from the perspective of the main character, Holden Caulfield. Although the story goes into a considerable amount of detail the reader is not led to believe every part of the story because Holden presents himself as a self-avowed liar, and therefore he cannot be trusted. This greatly hinders the reader's ability to gather valid information and put together their own perspective of Holden's story. Since Holden Caulfield is the narrator of the novel the reader loses many aspects of the novel compared to a non-biased narrator. The reader only knows and understands what is going on in Holden's life through Holden himself. Holden's life outside of the actual story is unknown to the reader because there is no outside voice present. This outside voice would provide the reader with background knowledge such as how Holden was as a child, background information about other characters that Holden meets, and maybe other events that occur that Holden is not directly involved in. Another disadvantage of having Holden narrate the story is the events are limited to the actions of Holden. An example is when Holden gets drunk at the bar in New York City. Holden vaguely describes his surroundings and the events that occurred, such as Holden faking a bullet wound to the stomach, in his narrative. One can assume that many other events took place while Holden was intoxicated, but Holden did not remember these events and therefore did not put them in his story to the reader. The reader must also consider that every character is portrayed through Holden. If Holden does not particularly like one of the characters he will describe them in a manor that makes the reader dislike the character as well. One example of this is Ackley, one of Holden's schoolmates at Pencey that stays in the room next to Holden. Holden portrays Ackley as an ugly doofus with acne all over his face and poor hygiene. When Holden interacts...
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