The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher In The Rye
J. D. Salinger

The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye, is arguably too much the antihero to appeal to conservative English teachers. Perhaps this is because of his attitude towards schooling; the fact the novel has been banned by numerous schools and colleges for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality; or his self-absorbed and depressed like.

Teachers may think he is a poor example because he is malcontent, angry, flunks classes such as history, sneaks around without his parents’ approval and so forth. Over the years, Holden has notably become an icon for teenage rebellion; his abuse of drugs and alcohol which occurs in the Wicker bar in New York, violence towards his companions such as when he lashed out at his roommate Stradlater shortly before his dismissal at Pencey Prep and his flirting with criminal behaviour all resonate with many teens. He is far too much the student whom teachers dislike because of his truancy, lack of application to studies, he breaks too many rules and is emotionally unsettled, (apparent when he locks himself inside Phoebe’s wardrobe). Possibly teachers do not want students to get ideas about acting out, encouraging them to go against authority and take the world head-on, on their own, as Holden does. To me, that makes him the ultimate hero. But society, (and teachers are a part of that) see this as the wrong way to live- therefore dubbing him the antihero.

It is no surprise Holden is considered an antihero: he is commonly seen to lack the traditional qualities that a hero would possess, such as intrepidity, altruism, idealism, self-sacrifice and the desire to succeed at everything with best effort. “I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.” That is but one example of his disturbed nature. He is perceived to...
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