The Catcher in the Rye

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Holden Caulfeild is the main character of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is portrayed as a very troubled and alienated young boy. He alienates himself to protect himself from the hurt of losing his brother Allie, the pain of growing up, and the phoniness of the adult world. Holden grieves the loss of his beloved little brother by thinking of everyone else as not good enough. He wants to fit into this new world he’s coming into as he’s growing up, but he can’t find a place for himself.

During this book Holden always describes himself as a victim of the world around him. He says to Mr. Spencer in the beginning of the book that he feels trapped on “the other side” of life. Throughout the book Holden attempts to find his way in a world that he doesn’t feel he belongs in. In chapter nine Holden tells us about some ducks that he sees in the central park lagoon. The ducks are a symbolic part of the story. The pond is a metaphor for Holden’s life and the stage of his life that he is in when this book is written. The pond is “partly frozen and partly not frozen.” It is in transition between two states, just as Holden is in transition between childhood and adulthood.

The deeper into this book we get the more we start to realize that the way Holden alienates himself is just to protect himself. Hilden has been hurt before and he makes that very obvious when he speaks of his brother Allie and his death. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon we had that summer, but my hand was already broken and everything by that time, and I couldn’t do it. It was a very stupid thing to do, I’ll admit, but I hardly didn’t even know I was doing it, and you didn’t know Allie.(39)

This quote shows us how strongly Holden did care about Allie and what a loss Allie’s death was to his life.
Holden tries to pass off his alienation as him...
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